22 Jun 2011

Nokia launches N9: Hints at Windows Phone 7 approach

Nokia launched its Meego-based N9—one of a handful of devices the company will try to sell you ahead of its Windows Phone 7 smartphones later this year—and provided a few hints about its next-gen efforts.

First, Nokia rolled out its N9, which has an interesting user interface, shows what the now abandoned MeeGo could have been and good hardware design. The calling card of the N9 is something called Swipe, which uses your finger to get back to the home page. The hardware is solid as usual and is button-free.

It’s very easy to dismiss the N9 as a “who cares” effort. Nokia, like Research in Motion, is in a product vacuum right now and getting whacked on multiple fronts by rivals.

However, Nokia’s Meego-based N9 does offer a few hints about the company’s approach with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. Is it just me or does that image to the right highlight that tile metaphor Microsoft uses?

Speaking in Singapore at the CommunicAsia tradeshow, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said that the N9 was the result of efforts by engineers to introduce new ways of using a phone, adding that many features in the device will be adopted in future Nokia products.

Nokia is also talking up three home views in a carousel for aps, social networking feeds and calendar and app switching. Sounds familiar eh? Nokia also is featuring a strong camera and map and navigation tools.

The subliminal message here is that Nokia will take its hardware and leverage Windows Phone 7 later this year. Admittedly, it’s odd that Nokia is delivering this message via a dead-end operating system today.

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