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Nokia Introduces MeeGo-Powered N9 Phone 252

Posted by Soulskill
from the wherever-you-go,-meego-meego-meego dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that Nokia has unveiled its first MeeGo-powered smartphone, the N9. "[T]he smartphone doesn't have any buttons on the front, with only the volume controls and a lock button located on the right side of the device. ... The performance of the prototype device felt very snappy, and it looks almost ready for retail. As a MeeGo device, the N9 will be running apps based on the Qt platform." The Washington Post calls it "the platform that could have been," referring to Nokia's decision to make the transition to Windows Phone for future devices. Others are impressed with the device, but see it as either a dead end or just another distraction to Nokia's long-term plans.
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Nokia Introduces MeeGo-Powered N9 Phone

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @07:32PM (#36521700)

    . . . is at long last finally here. Alas, it is stillborn, killed in the womb by corporate arrogance and indifference. Now, no one cares, not even me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Alas, it is stillborn, killed in the womb by corporate arrogance and indifference. Now, no one cares, not even me.

      Don't worry, we'll still mod you up every time you bring up how great the Nokia phones are even though nobody asked.

    • by fatphil (181876) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @08:22PM (#36522210) Homepage
      But don't forget that some people worked their guts out on the device.

      Everyone will have some criticisms, that's only expected, but no-one who has worked on the device wants to see a criticism with a brush so broad that it covers their contribution or component. (Your comment did was not so broad-brush, this isn't a criticism of your post.)

      There are several aspects of the device and/or software that are absolutely stellar. Incomparably better than anything else I've seen. I hope that journalists and bloggers recognise those when they finally get their hands upon one. It's a shame that some of these aspects are 'invisible', that's often the way with software - the less you notice it, the better it is, but alas the less likely it is to grab the attention.

      Of course, there's one reason why I have the views and insights that I do, so I'll end this post with the following:
      The opinions expressed in this post are mine own and do not necessarily represent the official view of Nokia.
      • There are several aspects of the device and/or software that are absolutely stellar. Incomparably better than anything else I've seen. I hope that journalists and bloggers recognise those when they finally get their hands upon one. . . . Of course, there's one reason why I have the views and insights that I do

        Could you just tell us what the subtly stellar aspects are?

        • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @02:44AM (#36524706)

          I haven't play with an N9, but I recently switched from an N900 to a Samsung. The Samsung has a 1Ghz A8 processor, the N900 had a 600Mhz A8 processor. The Samsung runs Android 2.2, the N900 runs maemo.

          The Samsung is slow and freezes frequently, the N900 is quick and responsive. Skype on the Samsung is a separate app that takes for ever to load, frequently fails to load, crashes or freezes the phone and doesn't support video even though it has a forward facing camera, the N900 has skype integrated as part of the normal phone functionality and supports video. The Samsung has a slow and painful way of connecting the phone as a mass storage device that often fails and attempts to start Kies on a windows machine, the N900 asks how you want to connect and then connects.

          There are so many things about the N900 that felt way superior to a Samsung Galaxy S. The OS just felt rock solid compared to Android. The only downside I found with the N900 was the lack of apps written for it.

          If the N9/meego made the most of what was learned from maemo and improved on it, I would imagine that it would probably be the best smart phone around. It's just a shame it's stillborn IMHO.

          • by MrHanky (141717)

            Much of the slowness of the Galaxy S is said to come from the file system, some ridiculous Samsung hackjob that degrades very fast. Other androids don't have the problem -- nor any of the others you mention. Meego might still be better than Android in several ways, just not the ones you mention.

          • Surely someone who had an N900 is capable of installing a custom ROM and/or converting the filesystem to ext4 which would overcome many of these issues you described.

            I know, Samsung should've done this in the first place, but at least the phone is open enough to do this with it.

          • by rcs1000 (462363)

            I too loved my N900 - a genuinely remarkable phone. I'm using an HTC Sensation now, which is wonderful is some ways, but I will always love the N900.

      • But don't forget that some people worked their guts out on the device.

        Just because someone spent a lot of time and effort working on something doesn't mean it's GOOD. I can spend all day every day for 5 years trying to paint the New York skyline, but that doesn't mean that the resulting picture will be any good.

        • Just because someone spent a lot of time and effort working on something doesn't mean it's GOOD.

          Hey, no reason to bring Duke Nukem into this!

        • Just because someone spent a lot of time and effort working on something doesn't mean it's GOOD. I can spend all day every day for 5 years trying to paint the New York skyline, but that doesn't mean that the resulting picture will be any good.

          Well, why wouldn't it? The results surely would improve by practice...

          But yeah, I know what you mean. Development time alone is probably a bad unit of measurement in quality.

      • by afabbro (33948) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @01:46AM (#36524406) Homepage

        Everyone will have some criticisms, that's only expected, but no-one who has worked on the device wants to see a criticism with a brush so broad that it covers their contribution or component

        Dear people who worked on this device:

        Your contributions were meaningless. Your device is already forgotten. You wasted your time.

        The opinions expressed in this post are the official view of Nokia.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          Maybe they plan to use those features on future Windows phones, like the way HTC have similar hardware, the same skin and the same (ported) apps on both their Android and Windows phones.

          I agree it seems pointless releasing a non-Windows phone now but I'm sure they will recycle a lot of the design and code.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      THIS device right there shows us the beauty of open source like nothing else:
      Even when Nokia dies (and there's no doubt about that), even if they stop supporting it tomorrow, and even if it's the last MeeGo ever, ...

      The drivers are there, the kernel is there... and you will be able to do everything you want with it, until it's so old the battery has to be replaced* and even your current phone has become useless.

      * (and you will be able to put a more recent battery in with Nokia)

      • by shmlco (594907)

        "The drivers are there, the kernel is there... and you will be able to do everything you want with it..."

        Yeah. It will be like all of those people who're still writing apps for Android version 1.0 and Windows CE.

    • I care. Well, I would have cared if I hadn't just got a secondhand N900 because I thought the N9 was canceled, and if I knew I could remove Meego and put on Maemo.

      • by Microlith (54737)

        if I knew I could remove Meego and put on Maemo.

        Well, this is Maemo. It depends on what you're after, though. I imagine the Maemo 5 UI will be ported to the N9 (Harmattan) eventually, and it's already running on MeeGo. There are no locks on these devices either, like there weren't any on the N900.

        • So I see, further down in the comments. UI... eh, I am not too worried. It's the Debianish guts I am after.

  • MeeGo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @07:34PM (#36521720)
    http://lwn.net/Articles/448590/
    """
    Warning: This is not MeeGo
    Posted Jun 21, 2011 14:48 UTC (Tue) by arjan (subscriber, #36785)
    Parent article: Nokia's N9 handset launched

    Despite Nokia's best efforts to confuse things, the N9 phone DOES NOT RUN MEEGO.

    It runs the Harmattan OS, which isn't related to the MeeGo project at all, and is not compatible with MeeGo even.

    It's very unfortunate that these mixed messages are happening, but at least at LWN we can be accurate about it.

    -- Arjan who works on MeeGo
    """
    • by exomondo (1725132)

      It runs the Harmattan OS, which isn't related to the MeeGo project at all, and is not compatible with MeeGo even.

      Isn't Harmattan the latest version of Maemo before the merge with Meego?

      • More or less. Harmattan is theoretically a hybrid release, with MeeGo elements on top of a Maemo core. If I recall, it was supposed to be API-compatible.
        • by exomondo (1725132)

          More or less. Harmattan is theoretically a hybrid release, with MeeGo elements on top of a Maemo core. If I recall, it was supposed to be API-compatible.

          I remember it being positioned as the last in-development version of Maemo with the Meego Qt APIs added, not sure about other Meego APIs.

  • N950 too... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the linux geek (799780) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @07:35PM (#36521732)
    The N950 was also announced with similar specs, as a keyboard-including successor to the N900. I'll laugh my ass off if the N9 takes off to the point where Nokia reconsiders going with WP7 - WP7 isn't a bad system, but a proper, complete, Linux on fast quality hardware is truly awesome.
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      WP7 cannot execute in the background, it's flavor of "multitasking" is just a pause to background, even blackberry OS 4/5 are more advanced than that
      • WP7 can execute in the background, it's just (currently) generally disabled for third-party applications. The Mango update in a few months is expected to offer full multitasking support for all applications.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The n950 is only available to developers through the Nokia Launchpad program. It comes without warranty, a smaller battery and lack of NFC support. It will not be sold to consumers. I think this was a serious mistake judging a large segment of the geeky market that will actually buy this phone considers a lack of hardware keyboard a deal breaker.

          • Yea, that's true. I'd like to get my hands on the N950, but the N9 doesn't interest me. I guess I'll keep my OC'd N900 for a couple years, then upgrade to something with a 720p, 6" screen, hardware keyboard, and x86 proc, running Meego(which I'll then strip out for a Kubuntu Mobile/debian setup.

        • If only media players developed by Microsoft can play music in the background on Windows Phone 7, this privileges Microsoft's music service over third-party music services. I can see how Pandora, Spotify, etc. might have grounds for antitrust complaint against Microsoft.
          • by exomondo (1725132)

            If only media players developed by Microsoft can play music in the background on Windows Phone 7, this privileges Microsoft's music service over third-party music services. I can see how Pandora, Spotify, etc. might have grounds for antitrust complaint against Microsoft.

            Well there really aren't grounds for anti-trust, i mean apple pulls apps because they use APIs that are only available to Apple software, which is what MS got done for with their anti-trust case, but there are more factors to anti-trust than just anti-competitive behavior. Also Apple had the same situation before they introduced multitasking too.
            In any case the 'Mango' update allows developers to integrate into the music and videos hub directly and will support multitasking.

      • As with iOS, this is a design choice rather than an OS limitation. Most of the time, it's the desired behaviour. A typical phone uses about 1% of the power in sleep mode that it does when the CPU is active. Having background apps able to drain the battery while the phone is in the user's pocket is not considered a feature by most users.
    • unfortunately, without another phone already in the pipeline, developers aren't going to flock to this device. It's a chicken and egg thing, the iphone was really the only platform to have customers without apps, and nowadays, you don't have app developers without customers.
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      I'll laugh my ass off if the N9 takes off

      It would be even funnier if someone figured out how to run Meego on Nokia phones that ship with Windows.

      Hell, it would be a scream if there was a way to install Meego on Android phones and jailbroken iPhones, too.

      But that's expecting too much. Hoping that the best products will come to market is expecting too much. Hoping that corporations will try to give customers what they want is definitely expecting too much. We've long passed the point where there's anything

      • by Microlith (54737)

        Hell, it would be a scream if there was a way to install Meego on Android phones and jailbroken iPhones, too.

        Totally possible. You can make good progress with a 2.6.35 kernel, albeit sans hardware acceleration for video. If it runs Android, it can run MeeGo as well.

        • Unless they've slipstreamed custom drivers into Android that can't be pulled out and plugged into MeeGo. Also remember that a LOT of the Android customizations are/were written so badly that Linus has (rightly) refused their entry into upstream. Making their inclusion in MeeGo a PITA.
    • by quenda (644621)

      N950? Why not just use N9 with a bluetooth keyboard for development? A full-size one even, since you are programming at a desk.
      What's the point in having a whole separate model for developers? I expect this was never planned, and the N950 was just not good enough for commercial release. Or cancelled for political/commercial reasons.

      Are people really demanding a built-in keyboard for development purposes? Or are programmers just the kind of people who like to type a lot on their regular phones?

      • Both, I'd imagine.
        I love my N900's keyboard, though it's only three rows. Makes slashdot posts decent, at 25+wpm. It'd be half of that on a touch screen, which would be intolerable.

        • by quenda (644621)

          . Makes slashdot posts decent, at 25+wpm. .

          Wow, that is fast! When it comes to typing on the N900, I'm all thumbs.

          • by dwater (72834)

            The N900 bug where it drops the first character typed is what irritates me...and the browser doesn't autocapitalise, making it different to input on the rest of the device.

  • by exomondo (1725132) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @07:42PM (#36521834)
    Looks impressive yet even on very powerful hardware it seems pretty sluggish moving around the UI. Perhaps there's room for optimisations but given this has been in development so long I would have thought it would be pretty slick by now. Certainly looks like this will be used for the really high-end phones, hopefully this will be the ideal 'geek smartphone' that they don't have to box in and dumb-down then with them also taking on WP7 it means they have a dumbed down consumer smartphone device to appease the masses too. It's a win-win.
    • Considering this is Linux, wonder how long before I can run something like Cynaogen Mod on it.

      I have always loved Nokia hardware, it is better than the best, their software unfortunately makes the whole device suck. If I could get Android running on something like this, it will get real close to being a perfect phone.

      • by exomondo (1725132)
        The main issue i see with that is dealing with the lack of hardware buttons.
      • by MrHanky (141717)

        Mmm, did you two even look at the videos? 1) It's not sluggish. 2) It doesn't look much like anything you've seen. "Oh but Nokia software is always poor, so this software must be poor as well!" Sorry, but that's the argument of a retard. The software looks great (from the few hands-on videos posted by various, not only Nokia's own), and Android's only obvious advantage is the huge market for apps.

    • by dwater (72834)

      where did you get the impression is was sluggish - having used it in person (for a while), I didn't get that impression at all.

    • by xynopsis (224788)

      Seems? How can you say it is sluggish you haven't even tried it out personally? Or were you just judging the performance based on the videos. I have the prototype and it is extrememely fast and snappy indeed. Even Engadget which is biased towards Apple is impressed [engadget.com]

    • by peppepz (1311345)
      I have an opposite impression. It looks slick and the transitions aren't annoying and distracting as the WP7 ones.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @07:44PM (#36521850)

    I'm just wondering who supplied NOKIA with AMOLED screens in this device. Anyone know?

  • by rsborg (111459) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @07:50PM (#36521890) Homepage

    ....may not have effectively "owned" Nokia like they do today (Microsoft effectively paid Nokia $1B+ to guarantee WP7 was their prime platform).

    I'm not saying it's too little to late, it does look like a fantastic phone with really fluid UI. And it runs Linux without a JVM layer. Nice.

    • That's certainly true but unfortunately this phone could not have existed 2 years ago with the technology available then. It's a fabulous looking phone though.
  • Hands on video.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by kvvbassboy (2010962) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @07:57PM (#36521976)
    Engadget has a couple: Nokia N9 first hands on [engadget.com]. It looks quite slick!
  • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @08:02PM (#36522030)

    The N9 and N950 are not running MeeGo, but the previously in development Harmattan, which is a continuation of the Maemo line. All of the Qt APIs in use by MeeGo as of MeeGo 1.2 are available on the platform, however, and efforts are already underway to ensure that the Community Edition of MeeGo (which is a pure MeeGo platform) is available on the N9.

    The N950, sadly, will only be available in limited quantities to commercial/professional developers, with roughly 250 to be handed out to open source developers in the community. Notably, the N950 doesn't have NFC so it can't be used to develop or test NFC applications.

    The N9 both is and is not an upgrade to my N900. It's lack of a hardware keyboard, lack of an SD card slot, and capacitive screen are negatives, while the faster and slightly revised omap3630 processor and 1GB of RAM are definite upsides. Additionally, most major European countries plus the US are likely going to be delayed (hopefully just delayed) for the N9 release as Nokia seems to be prioritizing them for WP7.

    I will probably get one, as a minor upgrade. Hopefully the price will be reasonable.

    • by dwater (72834)

      MeeGo is just a name and they wouldn't be able to call it that if it wasn't actually legally MeeGo. Sure, it is not the same as you can get on meego.com, but a name is just a name. You could argue that it isn't MeeGo in any meaningful way, but I think there is value in getting MeeGo into the market, even if it isn't the same thing as other not-yet-released devices.
      Anyway, MeeGo proper has no limitations on UI, so you can expect each manufacturer's phones to work quite differently, and I doubt the s/w will b

  • I had been waiting for MeeGo, but am now happily on a Palm Pre Plus. It's not completely open source but so far they really respect the homebrew community. That doesn't appear to be changing with HP now in charge.

    I have longer post on it for those interested [bryanquigley.com]

    An excerpt:
    HP/Palm really deliver on openness. It’s NOT completely open source. However, they support their homebrew community, and be support I mean they have donated servers to them. All the devices I looked at (haven’t looked at the

  • activities on a phone are running applications, getting notifications and switching between activities. What happened to making phone calls?
  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @08:51PM (#36522460)

    I don't get it. This phone looks great.

    • by Darinbob (1142669) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @09:54PM (#36522934)

      The majority of Nokia employees and share holders are asking the same question.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fotoguzzi (230256)
      There are a billion reasons.
    • by devent (1627873)

      Because most of the CEOs in the US are working for a) them self and b) for the shareholders. Most of them are not working for the interest of the company. That's also why they have 20 times the income of other countries like Germany which similar large and successful companies and they are not held responsible for a failure, but get big bonuses.

      What do you think how an ex-MS manager will run a company? He will get with his buddy how can they manage to increase their personal income and increase the sharehol

      • by peppepz (1311345)
        In this particular case the problem is that the WP7 announcement apparently didn't make b) happy either; the share price dropped heavily on 11 february and I think it hasn't recovered yet.
  • by gmuslera (3436) * on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @09:11PM (#36522612) Homepage Journal
    One missing things from all the demos and videos was the virtual keyboard, but part of the love i have for my N900 is for the hardware keyboard it have, The N9 is nicer to look, have more battery (even if you can't replace it), more cpu speed, harder, and a very nice user interface, but is not anymore a computer with phone capabilties, is definately a phone now. Unless the N950 becomes more available than what is announced, probably will have to move to Android or WebOS, or wait till another company fills that niche.
    • by Microlith (54737)

      not anymore a computer with phone capabilties, is definately a phone now

      Nah. I don't like the loss of the keyboard but that's no lesser than the N800, which didn't include a keyboard either but was very much a pocket computer. This still retains all the hallmarks of the N900, we'll just have to get creative for the input.

  • by renzhi (2216300) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @09:39PM (#36522824)
    Some investor with vision, should grab the whole team, and set up a new company to build MeeGo phone, a real convergent mobile device. That way, you won't have the Nokia baggage, you don't have to fight internal politics of a giant corp, you get the excitement and energy of a new start up working on something cool, and best of all, you rid yourselves off that Elop.
    • by kovari (34550)
      Look up Aava mobile.
      • by Microlith (54737)

        They only produce devkits, not consumer-grade hardware. Sad, but that's the state of things. If they were then Intel might have more people interested in their end of this.

    • by ecki (115356)

      Intel hired a lot of the Nokia people working on Maemo and Meego. I'm very curious what they can pull off, and I wish them good luck! Elop's concerns were not the technology though, but the execution. Shooting him as the messenger makes no sense.

  • by simm_s (11519) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @10:48PM (#36523310) Homepage

    For all of you Android haters that want a true Linux phone experience! Built with blessed APIs and running the latest mainline Linux kernel. This is your chance to prove us that a phone OS built using a fully open source development methods works. I am sick of going to conferences and hearing about how Android is bad for the community etc and then these same people pull out Apple iPhones. Needed to get that off my chest! :-)

    • by simm_s (11519)

      Don't get me wrong though it looks pretty good so far: http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/21/nokia-n9-first-hands-on/ [engadget.com]

    • by Microlith (54737)

      For all of you Android haters that want a true Linux phone experience

      Did once already for my N900, likely will again for this one.

    • For all of you Android haters that want a true Linux phone experience! Built with blessed APIs and running the latest mainline Linux kernel. This is your chance to prove us that a phone OS built using a fully open source development methods works. I am sick of going to conferences and hearing about how Android is bad for the community etc and then these same people pull out Apple iPhones. Needed to get that off my chest! :-)

      If it had a keyboard i would buy one, guaranteed! But without one it doesn't appeal to me at all, alas! Sent from my N900

  • I watched the videos and they build a nice phone. But why oh why they always need to spoil it to use a mirror for the display? I could puke when I see the background and the lights are all mirroring on the phone. How can I use that outside in the sun where I usually would use a phone? Why they can't invest the 5$ more for an anti-glare display?

  • Could be the last decent phone developed by Nokia.

    Probably the will attribute its non-success to the OS instead of the fact that they clearly said that this eill be the last one.

    • by Tanuki64 (989726)

      Strange. People don't buy a phone because it is the last of its kind? I read statements like yours whenever there is an article about Nokia and the N9. But as consumer, if the N9 is a good phone, why should one care that there probably won't be an N10? Was there something ever a free upgrade plan N(X) -> N(X+1)?

  • This is a real shame IMHO; I've watched the Engadet video of the device in action [engadget.com] and I have to say that compared to iOS or Android I'm seriously underwhelmed by the Harmatten UI - the underlying OS may well be superb, but with that current interface I can't see Joe Public taking much interest.

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