Revealed: Nokia N9, the First and Last of the MeeGo Phones

nokia n9 with Meego

Obviously the first thing you notice about this MeeGo phone, which is expected to be released in Q4 of 2011, is the distinct design. This is Nokia's first full touch-screen only interface phone. It comes in either black, cyan or magenta. The slick side curved phone design is a casing of a single piece of polycarbonate material and the display is AMOLED glass with a deep, black laminated finish with a curved surface designed for easier swiping, which is key to its user interface.

It is a seriously attractive and powerful handset but what about the MeeGo platform? If it has already been dumped by Nokia as they move toward a Windows Phone 7 partnership with Microsoft then we can't expect too much from it right?

What is MeeGo?

This Nokia phone features the MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan operating system for which the development of apps is supported by the Qt application framework. MeeGo is an open source operating system based on the Linux operating system. It is a culmination of development efforts between Nokia and Intel with the merging of the old Moblin and Maemo operating systems which are also Linux based.

This OS, codenamed Harmattan, debuts an intuitive new and unique swipe user interface. This user interface allows the user to move from any open application back to the home screen with a single swipe of a finger. The user interface greatly cuts down on the steps required to move from application to application on the phone.

The User Interface

The user interface on the Nokia N9 is based on and revolves around three home screens or home views. There is an application grid, more familiar to us as the menu grid, with dragable icons. From this grid you can launch any application you have installed as well gain access to the Nokia Ovi Store to purchase and download additional applications or games.

Swiping the screen across reveals the second view which is the events view. This holds everything from status updates from your various social network web accounts to RSS feeds. It also displays alerts from your phone's organizer, emails, text messaging service and missed calls. Any type of event is displayed here on the available scrollable list.

The third view is the multi-tasking view. This view accommodates a grid containing thumbnails of every application that is currently running. Any of these applications can be opened into a fourth view, known as the open application view, by tapping on the thumbnail. This is where you have access to the individual application functions. Returning to the multi-tasking view can be done by swiping from the edge of the right side of the display as opposed to just anywhere on the screen. As this space can be used for other purposes by the individual applications.

It is an interesting new mobile platform and seems to perform extremely well. While the early glimpses of MeeGo may have underwhelmed, now that it is nearing release it actually looks very good. Perhaps if Nokia had been in a strong enough position they would have grown this OS into a real contender.

Miscellaneous Features

nokia n9 with Meego

The MeeGo phone recently announced by Nokia comes with an array of impressive and practical features ranging from the 8 MP camera with speed optimized launch times to free turn by turn voice guided navigation in over 90 countries worldwide.

The display features an AMOLED capacitive touch screen with the graphics rendered closer to the surface of the phone. Dolby digital stereo and surround sound support on the Nokia N9 is also a first on any available phone on the market. In terms of hardware the Nokia N9 is a seriously desirable release.

With a host of applications and capabilities on the Nokia N9 MeeGo phone, it promises to be an outstanding device from Nokia. The possibilities available from the apps are endless, it can even run Android apps. The only negative factor in all this is that the release of the Nokia N9, the first and the last MeeGo device from Nokia, marks the beginning of the end for the MeeGo Series of smartphones. On the other hand it may prove not to be the case, bearing in mind that MeeGo is open source. If it is well received then the fact that it is open source leaves the field wide open for a long line of MeeGo phones from other hardware manufacturers. If the N9 does well it also wouldn't be a huge shock to see Nokia alter their plans.