When cell phones became mainstream in the early 2000’s, everybody (and I do mean everybody) owned a Nokia device. With an iconic ringtone and an addictive game called “Snake”, the brand was synonymous with mobile technology for many people. No other phone manufacturer even came close in terms of popularity and it seemed like Nokia would be around for a long time.
Then the iPhone happened.
As soon as Apple released their all-in-one touchscreen smartphone in 2007, Nokia began the downward spiral that would ultimately lead to their demise. The company refused to stray from an antiquated Symbian operating system and failure to adapt caused them to careen from a dominating 50% market share in 2007 to a lowly 2.8% when it was purchased by Microsoft late last year.
But the future looks bright for Nokia with the release of their first mobile device under Microsoft ownership: An Android tablet.
The Nokia N1 is Thinking Ahead
Microsoft’s purchase agreement dictates Nokia can’t manufacturer smartphones until 2016. This gives Microsoft enough time to figure out what they want to do with their newly-acquired phone division and Nokia enough time to restructure. After one year of being under the Microsoft regime, Nokia has now unveiled what they came up with: The N1 — something that isn’t a smartphone.
The N1 is important for many reasons, but mostly because it’s actually a nice-looking tablet. While it may appear Nokia took some design inspiration from Apple (the N1’s dimensions are nearly identical to the iPad Mini), the fact that it’s powered by a stock version of Android Lollipop (with the exception of Nokia’s new and innovative Z Launcher) will appeal to many Android enthusiasts. And with a pricetag of $249, it may also convince a lot of people to buy one.
“We are pleased to bring the Nokia brand back into consumers’ hands with the N1 Android tablet, and to help make sophisticated technologies simple. 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.”
— Sebastian Nyström, Head of Products at Nokia Technologies
Nokia N1 Tech Specs
○ 7.9 inch (4:3)
○ 2048×1536 resolution
○ Gorilla® glass 3
○ IPS panel with LED backlight
○ Fully laminated zero air-gap display
○ Intel® 64-bit Atom™ Processor Z3580, 2.3 GHz
○ LPDDR3 (800 MHz), 2 GB
○ eMMC 5.0, 32 GB
○ PowerVR G6430, 533 MHz
○ 8 MP rear-facing camera with autofocus
○ 5 MP front-facing camera, fixed focus
○ 1080p video recording
- Buttons and connections
○ 3.5 mm audio
○ Micro-USB 2.0 with a Type-C reversible connector
○ High Quality Discrete Audio Codec, Wolfson
○ WM8958E, independent audio codec
○ Two 0.5 W stereo speakers
○ 90 dB with less than 10% total harmonic distortion (THD)
○ Digital MIC Cavity resonance frequency more than 20 KHz
○ 18.5 Wh (5300 mAh) rechargeable lithium polymer battery (3.7 V)
○ 6-axis Gyro+Accelerometer
○ Wi-Fi, (802.11a/b/g/n/ac); dual channel (2.4GHz & 5GHz) with MIMO
○ Bluetooth, BT 4.0
○ Android™ 5.0 Lollipop
○ Nokia Z Launcher
Return to Glory
Similar to Nokia, Microsoft initially refused to stray from their own operating system in favor of what’s popular. The result proved to be equally as disastrous for the company as they watched their mobile market share dwindle into obscurity over the years. But Microsoft learned from these mistakes and is poised for a triumphant comeback that will help them (and Nokia) compete with the likes of Apple.
When Microsoft released the Android-based Nokia X2 smartphone earlier this year, it seemed like the company was gung-ho to finally make a change. Unfortunately, the phone ran the AOSP version of Android that doesn’t include any Google services and was essentially a Windows-skinned device. The lack of Android apps combined with mediocre specs wasn’t enough to convince people to buy the X2 instead of an iPhone.
But the N1 is different.
Nokia’s first Android tablet features high-end specs, a low price point, and a well thought-out design. It’s also the first of many new devices Nokia is promising will bring the “magic of technology” to people in a way only their company can. And if you’ve ever been addicted to “Snake”, you know exactly what they’re talking about. And while one tablet won’t make or break the bank for the Microsoft/Nokia alliance, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
The N1 has the potential to be the best-selling Android tablet ever because it has everything you could want in a tablet at an affordable price. If Microsoft and Nokia play their cards right, this could be the greatest comeback story in the history of the mobile technology industry. And by deciding to license the N1’s beautiful industrial design to OEM partners along with its release, it appears like they’re holding a royal flush.
What do you think? Is the Nokia N1 the best Android tablet ever? Will you be buying one? Is going the Android route the right move for Microsoft and Nokia? Let us know in the comments below!