I got to play with a 64GB Pink N9 today.
Unfortunately only 16GB Pink will make it to retail channel. As we know, black is the only colour to get 64GB.
So, what did I learn today?
All Nokia devices from here onwards will be using microSIMs like the N9. This includes Windows Phone and Symbian Belle devices. Nokia says this allows more freedom in design as the smaller microSIM is a similar size to a microSD.
N9 will never be able to do NFC payments. It is missing critical hardware component called ‘single wire protocol’, which is required for payment security. Nokia hopes instead to use the N9 to introduce NFC and make users aware of its existence and features. One way they are doing this is through the game Angry Birds Magic (packed on the device) which forces you to tap on other N9 to unlock levels.
All of Nokia’s future NFC phones will support payment.
The N9 ships with Bluetooth 2.1 but 4.0 is planned as an update. The update will allow NFC sharing to piggyback over Wifi (through the Bluetooth High Speed protocol).
Consumer studies found the N9 would sell well in Australia but not US, UK, Germany. Hence, Australia will get the Nokia N9 this year. US, UK, Germany will get Windows Phone 7 this year. Australia will get Windows Phone next year.
Nokia sees N9 as a bridging gap between Symbian and its future devices in Symbian ‘stronghold’ markets. The phone is targeted towards Symbian users and users who do not like Android and iOS (those that are seeking an alternative platform).
Again, Nokia confirmed that the N9 is the first and last Meego device it will produce unless it changes its minds due to consumer pressure. Also, Meego will be supported and receive updates for at least four years.
In Australia, the phone will launch on Telstra, Optus and VHA (all carriers) at the same time. Phone launches in under a month (less than 30 days). No price specified.
Skype is heavily integrated in to the phone, as it was on the N900. In the default phone dialler you can choose to call via SIM or via Skype. It is possible we will see Skype video calling in the future but it is subject to carrier restrictions.
In addition to Skype, Twitter and Facebook are also heavily integrated in the messaging system, contacts system and notifications. Some nice features of the integration include being able to sort your contacts by their online status (on Facebook, Skype and so on). When you click on a contact you are able to click on their number to call them or click on a messaging icons besides their number to message them. Underneath their phone numbers you will see their Social where you are able to click to send them a message on Facebook, Twitter or other social media in a seamless fashion (as if it were a text message).
The application menu is having a massive overhaul and many of the features are being passed through to Symbian Anna and Belle. The most obvious is the new icons. We will call them ‘squircles’. Other than looking pretty, they do in fact serve a purpose. According to the Nokia design documents, the different coloured backgrounds are intended to represent different functions. Though, I’m not sure if anyone has told this to the application developers yet.
Now, for those who have always lusted after an app for your favourite airline or banking account, look no further. Many Symbian users, forced in to packaging these webpages with ‘AppMe‘, will be happy to know this feature is now in-built in to Meego. It may also be showing in Belle. In Meego, when you browse to a website, you are able to add it to the application menu. Not only will you get a direct link that feels like a native application, it will also generate its very own ‘squircle’ from the website!
For those concerned about customisation in Meego, it is true you are unable to change the background picture of the application menu. It is always black to save battery life. However, you can change the lock-screen wallpaper, which will suit most.
While folders will be considered in the future, Meego will not ship with folder support in the application menu. According to Nokia, focus groups indicated that folder support was not desired. According to their research, the great majority of users only frequently use 3-4 applications. The users also preferred a ‘flat’ application directory where all applications are visible on the main screen. Layers of folders and settings (seen in Symbian) was seen as an undesirable feature.
Nokia will also move towards eliminating folders in Symbian Belle. They are currently testing having no folders in Belle.
Another tidbit: included in the phone packaging will be a free silicone case the same colour as the N9 you purchased. The case completely covers the colour of the phone such that if you were to use a black case on a blue phone, your phone would appear black.