updated 08:20 am EDT, Tue September 27, 2011
Nokia N9 reaching stores in some countries
Nokia posted Tuesday that it had started shipping the N9. Its first MeeGo phone should be in stores in some countries, including Finland, much of Scandinavia, and parts of Europe. A version with 16GB of built-in storage costs 480 euros ($650) contract-free, and a 64GB version costs 560 euros ($759).
The phone's OS is its centerpiece as it eliminates the need for any front buttons. Instead, users swipe to bring up the home screen or to switch apps. Nokia gives it a visual thumbnail grid of apps and 'real' multitasking. The phone has modest performance by modern standards with a 1GHz processor, but it has a very quick and relatively high quality eight-megapixel camera as well as built-in NFC for short-range payments and tags.
Its app loadout is also relatively rich with Accuweather, Angry Birds Magic, AP Mobile, Facebook, Foursquare, Skype, Twitter, and Vimeo all ready to go. Nokia Maps gives it free turn-by-turn GPS. The N9 can create its own 3G hotspot and, unlike even some rivals that had it earlier, can track how much data is being used as well as what its current speeds are.
The N9 won't necessarily be Nokia's last MeeGo phone but may be an effective goodbye for Nokia's original ambitions for the OS. It was originally to have replaced Symbian, but with very few devices likely to ever ship, Nokia has decided to put most of its effort into its switch to Windows Phone. Prototypes of the first device, the Sea Ray, have hinted that it may be very similar to the N9 outside of the need for physical buttons.
Although not officially bound for North America, it explicitly supports 3G on AT&T and T-Mobile as well as most Canadian carriers, making an export a viable option.