Every time Stephen Elop, Nokia’s new CEO, gets up on stage he repeats his infamous “we’re no longer in a battle for devices, but in a war of ecosystems” speech, the one where he explains the reason why he decided to switch Nokia’s primary operating system to Windows Phone. Today, at Nokia Connection 2011 in Singapore, Nokia took the wraps off the N9, the very last smartphone the Finnish handset maker plans on building with the MeeGo operating system that they spent years working on, but in the end decided it was not a viable platform for the long term success of the company. From a pure hardware perspective, it’s impressive. The N9 has a 3.9 inch curved Gorilla glass AMOLED screen with a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels, 1 GB of RAM, quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and pentaband (850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz) 14.4 Mbps 3G support, it takes microSIM cards, making it the first device other than the iPhone 4 or iPad 2 to do so, it also features an 8 megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss wide angle lens, the ability to capture 720p video at 30 frames per second, near field communication support, and your typical WiFi/Bluetooth/GPS radios that most every new smartphone comes with.
That’s all well and good, but let us repeat just how limited this device will be. There will be no additional MeeGo devices coming out, meaning developers making applications for the N9 are going to address an incredibly limited market. Worse yet, the N9 doesn’t come with a ship date or price tag, so for all we know it can cost over 800 EUR and hit store shelves in the last week of December. No matter how good this device is, you’re better off getting something that’ll actually have the backing of more than a few hundred thousand loyalists of the Nokia brand. That makes us rather sad since the UI looks reasonably lick and shows us a future that could have been if Elop wasn’t put in charge.
Update: One more video, this one showing off the UI on an actual device