In geek circles, the big news about the new Nokia N9 is its implementation of the Meego operating system. In the real world, we’re probably more interested in such practicalities as the complete lack of buttons on the face, and the “swipe” gesture to take the user to the home screen.
“Home” comes in three views that are, Nokia says, designed to give fast access to the most important things people do with a phone: using apps, staying up to date with notifications and social networks, and switching between activities.
The N9’s sleekly styled polycarbonate body serves a dual purpose. It’s not only for looks, allowing a seamless transition into the curved 10-cm AMOLED screen made from scratch-resistant glass, but also helps optimise antenna performance for better reception.
Nokia design chief Marko Ahtisaari says that the company wanted to design a better way to use a phone. “To do this we innovated in the design of the hardware and software together. We reinvented the home key with a simple gesture: a swipe from the edge of the screen. The experience sets a new bar for how natural technology can feel.” Elements of the N9’s design, from user experience to the underlying software framework, will be seen in future Nokias.
Functionally the N9 has several improvements. Its camera features 8-megapixel Carl Zeiss autofocus sensor, wide-angle lens, HD-quality video capture and large lens aperture. You can watch videos in true 16:9 widescreen format with astonishing sound quality; the N9 is also the first smartphone with Dolby Digital Plus decoding and Dolby Headphone post-processing technology. It’s also equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC), which allows sharing between devices simply by touching them together.
The N9 will be available in black, cyan, and magenta, in 16 or 64 GB.