Just as we thought it was safe to gossip about the demise of yesteryear’s mobile giant, Nokia shocks everyone with the announcement of their N1 Android tablet.
Unveiled to a surprised Slush 2014 conference audience in Helsinki, the Nokia N1 tablet is the Finnish company’s first venture since announcing they would no longer dabble in the competitive smartphone market following a $7.2 billion surrender of its devices to Microsoft.
With an aesthetic suspiciously similar to the Apple iPad Mini, the Nokia N1 is an aluminium-framed tablet that boasts a 7.9-inch laminated screen, 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom Z358 processor, 2GB of RAM, 5,300 mAh battery, 8MP rear camera and 5MP front camera – all for a very reasonable $249 (around £160). Not bad, huh?
Powered by Android’s stock Lollipop 5.0, one of Nokia’s main goals for the tablet is to push their Android Z Launcher – a homescreen launcher named after a gesture that enables you to write letters on the screen to provide a list of running applications and contacts that changes depending on what you’re doing. Driven by MyScript for handwriting recognition, the feature allows you to jot one or more letters and remove whatever you’ve written with a back swipe in an attempt to resolve an app organisation problem that Nokia discovered. It sounds kinda gimmicky, but could it take off?
Given they've developed a neat little launcher for the tablet, you’d be forgiven to assume the N1 is all Nokia’s handiwork. But no, the N1 is actually a joint venture with Foxconn - a partnership that sees the recovering mobile titan simply licensing the Nokia brand to the Taiwanese firm’s Android device.
Unlike other collaborations of this nature, however, Nokia will insist on super-stringent quality controls to ensure products look and feel as though they were built by the brand, which, in turn, should guarantee a successful rebuild of their somewhat sullied reputation.
After a valiant, Microsoft-backed attempt to flourish in the 21st century, it seems Nokia are set to move away from the development of devices and will instead focus on handpicking products worthy of the brand’s name; a sad reality for a company who single-handedly shaped the global mobile phone market. A shame it may be, but, ultimately, Nokia failed to match the technological foresight of Apple, Google, Samsung and LG and the once-world champ has been left choking on the dust of its distant, sneering peers.
But let’s not be too harsh on Nokia. If the Z Launcher proves popular and the right products are chosen at the right price, the fallen master may dust off, recover and re-establish itself as a force to be reckoned with…
With no set UK release date, we’ve been told that China will be the first to receive the N1 in early 2015.