In a momentous event, Nokia, the former titan of the mobile industry, is making a comeback of sorts, just months after it completed the sales of its smartphone division to Microsoft.
At its Slush 2014 conference in Finland, Nokia just introduced the N1, a brand new tablet running Android. The device features a sleek all-aluminum design, a 7.9-inch laminated display, a 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom Z358, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, an 8MP rear camera, a 5MP front-facing camera, and a 5,300 mAh battery. Full specs:
- 7.9-inch, 2048×1536 (4:3) IPS LCD with Gorilla Glass 3 and fully laminated zero air gap display
- 64-bit 2.3GHz Intel Atom Z3580 processor, PowerVR G6430 GPU with 2GB RAM
- 32GB built-in memory (non-expandable)
- 8 megapixel rear camera, 5 megapixel front camera
- Dual channel 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.0
- Micro-USB 2.0 with a Type-C reversible connector
- Stereo speakers
- 5300mAh battery
The rounded edges and features placement give the Nokia N1 a certain resemblance with Apple’s designs. The device, which is impressively thin at 6.9 millimeters, will come in Natural Aluminum and Lava Gray.
On the software side, the Nokia N1 will run Android 5.0 Lollipop, customized with Nokia’s homemade Z Launcher. The minimalist launcher debuted in June, and back then we called it “simple and surprisingly enjoyable”. The launcher is named after one of its key features: the ability to write out letters onto the screen to quickly search for apps, contacts, frequently utilized webpages and more. You can even search the web through this method.
The Nokia N1 will cost $250 and launch in China initially, starting in February. Nokia says the device will be in stores in time for the Chinese New Year (February 19, 2015). After that, Nokia plans to introduce the device to Russia and some European countries, markets where historically it had the biggest influence and where the Nokia brand is still highly valued by consumers. There is no information yet on the eventual availability of the Nokia N1 in the US and other regions from around the world.
The company CEO recently said Nokia won’t return to making smartphones, even if the contract with Microsoft allows Nokia to sell smartphones from 2016. Instead, Nokia is looking to license its brand to interested companies, that will be able to sell devices under the Nokia name.
Under the Microsoft agreement, Microsoft holds a 10-year license for the Nokia brand on feature phones, while the Finnish company can return to the smartphone game as soon as January 1, 2016.
Update: according to the press release below, Nokia is actually licensing the N1’s “industrial design, Z Launcher software layer and IP on a running royalty basis” to Foxconn.
ESPOO, Finland, Nov. 18, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Nokia today announced the N1, the first Nokia-branded AndroidTM tablet. The N1 offers the innovative, predictive Nokia Z Launcher interface, and a carefully crafted industrial design by Nokia with a focus on simplicity. The N1 will be brought to market in Q1 2015 through a brand-licensing agreement with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partner responsible for manufacturing, distribution and sales.
“We are pleased to bring the Nokia brand back into consumers’ hands with the N1 Android tablet, and to help make sophisticated technologies simple,” said Sebastian Nyström, Head of Products at Nokia Technologies, who announced the N1 at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki. “The N1 has a delightfully intuitive interface and an industrial design to match it. This is a great product for Nokia fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet.”
Consumers use and manage a large set of applications in their digital lives. The N1 makes that easy with the Z Launcher, which allows users to scribble a letter or two to find their content quickly. Over time the Z Launcher learns what applications are in use, and predicts and highlights the applications consumers are expected to want based on time of day and location.
The industrial design of the N1 is deliberately developed to match the elegant simplicity of the interface. It has a unique one-piece aluminum design with a soft finish in both Lava Grey and Natural Aluminum colors that make it stand out from other tablets. The 7.9″ laminated display sits in a 6.9mm thin and light design that makes the device comfortable to hold even with one hand. A 2.4Ghz Intel© AtomTM quad-core processor provides great performance for the Android Lollipop operating system on the N1.
The N1 is planned to be available for purchase in China in Q1 2015 for an estimated USD 249 before taxes, with the anticipation of expanding sales to other markets.
In addition to the Nokia brand, Nokia is licensing the industrial design, Z Launcher software layer and IP on a running royalty basis to the OEM partner. The OEM partner is responsible for full business execution, from engineering and sales to customer care, including liabilities and warranty costs, inbound IP and software licensing and contractual agreements with 3rd parties.
The N1’s industrial design and Z Launcher application originate within the Nokia Technologies business, which is focused on strengthening Nokia’s industry-leading innovation portfolio through patent, technology and brand licensing.