The Nokia N9

The Nokia N9

The Nokia N9

The Nokia N9

I feel like, as an Apple lover, I need to share other ideas that are out there as well when it comes to electronics. There are a lot of potential competitors out there, but I wholeheartedly believe that no one has been able to match able in both hardware and software. But when I saw the new Nokia N9, I have to admit I was bit intrigued.

Physically, it looks really on brand for Nokia. It reminds me a lot of the old candy bar phones from the 90’s, which is totally a compliment. The form seems like it would be comfortable in your hand, and the back of the camera looks really clean and simple. Though one thing I noticed is the position of the camera, which may become covered by your hand easily.

The software seems to be pretty smooth, but not perfect in my mind. The field of icons on the home screen seems a bit overwhelming, though the icons themselves are rather well-crafted. I also like that there’s a screen that aggregates all your social networks and messages and notes and all that jazz. That said, it’s not very pretty, it’s quite mundane looking in fact.

Mundane is kind of how I’d describe the entire UI experience, sadly. The idea of swiping to get to other screens, and the lack of one physical button, is an interesting feature, but it certainly doesn’t make me giddy. It’s also interesting that they don’t seem to be showing the keyboard, which I think is a bit odd. Perhaps it’s not ready? There’s also a noticeable absence of phone calls or text messages, but yet again, this may be because it’s still early in production, I don’t know.

I’m highly doubtful that this will end up making a big splash, but I appreciate the effort at the very least. Between this and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 (Microsoft innovating much more, in my opinion), hopefully we continue to see more explorations like this.


11 Comments The Nokia N9

  1. kathryn June 23, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    what are your thoughts on Android phones primarily HTC ones?
    I am a mac computer user but an HTC phone user, much prefer the UI to iphone.

  2. Bobby SolomonBobby Solomon June 23, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    @Kathryn – I personally find the Android UI pretty gross, like the bastard child of WIndows 95. Android is ok if you’re someone who loves to customize and mod your phone, but I feel like this is a small percentage of people, my mom wouldn’t want to do that.

    I googled Android HTC UI and these were the messy results:

  3. kathryn June 23, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    wow that is messy, UI doesn’t look like that currently (in UK anyway) and the reason you get so many results is cos of the open source nature of the software, HTC version of android is different to the standard release.

    I am the sort of person who likes to customise my phone so i guess i am in that small percentage, but then again I know about 15 people with HTCs running android so within my specific circle of friends obvs not that small.

  4. Bobby SolomonBobby Solomon June 23, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    @Kathryn – I mean if you and your friends dig, that’s awesome, I could be totally wrong. If I had to try another phone it would be the Windows Phone 7, I like the tile layout a lot, I think it’s good for socializing and getting notifications.

  5. Mark Anderson June 23, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    Coming from Ireland I feel this is a massive leap for nokia in all aspects as a dominant force in mundane yet massively essential phones they have integrated everything that is good from a smartphone in my mind this blows away any windows 7 ideas and is on par with apple (i own and love an iphone) all iphones from person to person depending on what they download is horribly messy there are very few essential UI applications that can cause problems

  6. Graham Wilson June 23, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    It looks nice…good to see Nokia having a go. I suppose it’s flattering for Apple to have everyone following their lead. This looks like a cross between an iPod nano and an iPhone 3

  7. sss June 24, 2011 at 3:59 AM

    worst design flaw ever in mobile phones:

    all-in-one updates stream.

    i have never in my life come across anyone who liked this feature. its odd but people like to keep their seperate networks seperate to an extent. they want to check their facebook and their linkdn one after the other not at the same time and post seperately, not risking posting the same cv update on linkd and fbook.

    cannot understand why idiots still design this it being done by a bunch of aliens or social recluses?

  8. Cory June 24, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    I am all up on the N9. The curved glass, bold colours and few hardware buttons are all quite sexy. The UI, in terms of what I’ve seen from videos, looks fine. I’d even go as far to say that edge-swipe is one of the greatest UI inventions as of late. It’s something Apple is just starting to push in to (iOS 5 notifications being an example), and it really makes any front-facing hardware button obsolete. Plus, it’s fun. I could rant on for ages about how clean and efficient the UI looks, something I think the UI on Windows 7 phones gets right.

    I’m a believer that there’s room in the market, not for an iPhone killer (because let’s face it, the power Apple holds over the market has transcended any notion of this ever happening (at least in the near future)), but for a classy combination of candy-bar and smart phone. A phone that’s small (as small as you can get without mucking up the touchscreen keyboard), quick, has few buttons (fewer the better) and just does 3 things well: text, make calls and use the internet (order of importance can vary depending on who you talk to). Native applications aren’t truly necessary. Sure, apps are an important aspect of current-gen smartphones, but having access to the internet (and saving bookmarks to the home screen) is a good poor-mans substitute. Instead of opening a native app to check the weather, tap on the bookmark you have.

    The N9 isn’t this device, but it’s a step in the right direction. Sadly, though, I’ve been hearing some rumours that Nokia’s commitment to the N9 in the future is seriously lacking. Who knows if we’ll be hearing any more of it a year from now.

  9. Dan June 24, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    I find it interesting that Nokia have released this utilising the MeeGo operating system (which they spent a year developing with Intel), when it appears it will be the only handset they build which will run this platform – they have since indicated they are deferring to the Microsoft Windows mobile OS…

  10. Laura July 4, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    I think the N9 is definitely a step in the right direction, though as others have said it is missing some key features. Hopefully Nokia will get there. Remember that the first iPhone didn’t even have simple copy & paste! I’m quite happy to see some competition to the iPhone.

    As for the iPhone/Android comparison, the official Google Nexus S is the best way to go. Complete flexibility and the default UI is great. While the iPhone is nicer, my biggest beef with Apple is that they feel that they have the right to control what sites you get to visit (ie, no FLASH SUPPORT, and no Grooveshark support…Grrr). So many sites I visit still use Flash, and I’m constantly annoyed when I can’t access them. As for Grooveshark, banning it just because of iTunes competition is low… very low.

    IMO, Apple has conquered the UI world, but hasn’t yet understood that the internet is (and should remain) FREE. Steve shouldn’t get to control what sites I can and can’t visit, and for that reason – I’m selling my Apple products.

  11. Bobby SolomonBobby Solomon July 4, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    @Laura – That’s entirely silly to say that Steve Jobs is controlling the sites you visit, in fact, it’s melodramatic at best. Have you ever seen a touch phone that uses Flash and doesn’t suffer from extreme battery loss and/or stuttering and crashing? That’s why there’s no Flash on the iProducts and never will be. That and the fact that Flash is a proprietary system owned solely by Adobe.

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