Published by Rafe Blandford, Asri al-Baker, David Gilson at 9:17 UTC, September 5th 2011
The Nokia N9 has captured the attention of the technology press and blogosphere more than any other recent Nokia device. This is the first phone built on the MeeGo operating system (well, 'MeeGo Harmattan'). However, the device faces an uncertain future with Nokia firmly stating it will not return to MeeGo for future devices. There is even no clear message about which international markets in which the device will be released. There are many unanswered questions. We at All About MeeGo have done out best to compile the information you need by putting together a definitive frequently asked questions article about the Nokia N9.
The information presented below is a collaborative effort between All About MeeGo, Asri Al Baker, and Nokia Malaysia's Glen Cha. The FAQ began back when we canvased the @AllAboutMeeGo followers for questions about the N9 prior to recording episodes nine and ten of the All About MeeGo Insight Podcast. Subsequently, Asri wrote for us about his time with the N9 at the Nokia-organised Kuala Lumpur blogger meet. As part of his involvement there, Asri was able to invite his Twitter followers to send him questions about the N9, and pass them along to Nokia Malaysia. Asri has kindly contributed those questions and answers to All About MeeGo for publication here.
Below you will find both unique questions, and summaries of common questions. For some questions, we have been able to provide more feedback from more than one source. Each answer is prefixed to let you know who provided the information.
As a 'Thank You' to everyone who contributed questions, we have credited each question with a link to the Twitter profile of the corresponding contributors. All About MeeGo would also like to thank Asri Al Baker for his time and contributions.
[AAM] Currently, there has been no word of the N9 being sold in western markets. However, the list of countries on the Nokia N9 availability page only correspond to the countries in which Nokia’s online stores are still operating. Nokia have made a statement indicating that the N9 will not be launched in the USA or the UK. However, while the lack of an official launch does mean it is unlikely to be ranged by operators in the given country, it does not mean the device will not be available through third party retailers.
[AAM] As a case in point, the Nokia N9 has been made available for pre-order through UK retailer Mobile Fun at £519.95 (UK Pounds)
[Asri] In Malaysia, Nokia N9 will be sold to the public through Nokia’s distribution channels and Nokia Malaysia is also in negotiation with some telecom operators to bundle it with their plans.
[Nokia] Each market has its own plan to launch certain models so we will let our colleagues from each office make their announcement in due course.
[AAM] Nokia has announced that the N9 will be ranged by Australian networks [Source] (2nd September 2011).
[AAM] Nokia Mexico announced that the N9 will be coming soon [Source] (9th September 2011).
[Nokia] The Nokia N9 is not just a MeeGo-based product; it is the latest Nokia smart phone. We believe people will be attracted to the amazing user experience that blends seamlessly with the hardware. Anyone who buys the Nokia N9 will have a great experience, and will also receive all the product support they require while using their product, including software updates, maintenance and standard care and support services.
Is it true that Nokia N9 is the last MeeGo phone from Nokia?
[AAM] Stephen Elop has stated that there will be “no returning to MeeGo”, according to Finnish Newspaper, HelsingingSanomat[Source]. The N9 is likely to be the last MeeGo device, but elements of the technology, both software and hardware, will be used in other devices.
[Nokia] Our Meego platform will continue to provide Nokia with a platform to research and develop disruptive technology. What form and shape those technologies will take in the future is not something that we are able to talk about at this present moment.
[AAM] Nokia will provide full support for the N9, as it does for all its other products. Given that Nokia has stated it will not be returning to MeeGo for future products, it is likely that major software updates may be limited. Despite this we would expect there to be two or three major firmware updates. The N9 may have a usual than longer support /sales period as it likely to thedive used for Nokia's research and future concept projects relating to MeeGo.
[Asri] Nokia N9 will receive continuous support from Nokia. Firmware updates will be made available for the device’s lifetime. At the same time, Nokia positioned MeeGo as the future disruptive technology, which can mean anything.
[Nokia] Anyone who buys the Nokia N9 will will receive all the product support they require while using their product, including software updates, maintenance and standard care and support services plus a pipeline to great apps which are developed on Qt.
[AAM] There is no definite information available, but we do not believe hardware acceleration is supported in the browser. Limited CSS 3 support is available.
[AAM] HTML5 tests on the N9's browser shows it to be very capable [Source]. Additionally, QtWebKit supports accelerated compositing [Source]. This shows that hardware acceleration is certainly possible, but there is still no definitive information available as to whether the N9's browser is hardware accelerated. Thanks to Noam_rosenthal for the references (2nd September 2011).
[AAM] The OMAP 3630 processor is in the same family as the N900's OMAP 3430 (600Mhz), this reduced the amout on hardware / SoC integration work that was required for the N9 and this reduced the overall cost of development. Nokia also feels that the processor is adequate to meet the likely usage scenarios of the N9.
[Nokia] We believe the Nokia N9 delivers a fast user experience. In addition, it is able to deliver the best experience in the areas of performance, features and power consumption for the most common use cases that Nokia N9's targeted consumers would use frequently.
[Nokia] The design and R&D team who worked on the Nokia N9 operated within the design philosophy of incorporating natural human movements into the Nokia N9 user interface – which is the SWIPE motion. It also helps that this interaction is unique in the Nokia N9 and is not available on other devices currently in the market.
[AAM] As discussed in episode 11 of the AAM Insight Podcast, SwipeUI perfectly fits one handed usage as it (almost) elminates the need to pinch with two things. Instead, it relies on gestures that can be performed with just a thumb.
[AAM] The N9 can subscribe to third party CalDAV sources (in addition to a Google account). At the time of writing, we don't know how many sources can be subscribed to at once. For an example of the accounts page, see this video.
[Asri] Multiple calendars are supported. Via Google Account, Mail for Exchange, as well as CalDAV. I have seen the Nokia N9 showing multiple CalDAV Google Calendars.
[AAM] The underlying software packaging system of MeeGo Harmattan uses Debian packages (rather than the RPM format which is the standard for MeeGo). This means that installing third party applications should be supported.
[Asri] Nokia N9 is powered by an Open Source OS called MeeGo Harmattan. Users can install any compatible software on it. The software can be installed by clicking on the .deb files through a file manager or via a terminal command (dpkg -i *deb) - if you know what you are doing! Nokia N9 will also include Nokia’s Ovi Store which provides the opportunity for more third party apps.
[AAM] The Harmattan developer community is still small. This is reflected in that fact that Nokia have included applications for mainstream social media and networking services in the initial N9 firmware.
[Asri] Too early to say anything. But Nokia has been very consistent with the message that the Nokia N9 supports Qt. Applications developed using Qt can be installed on the Nokia N9. Moreover, Nokia is also giving out Nokia N950 DevKit to select developers to encourage them developing apps for N9.
What improvements are planned for the Facebook and Twitter clients?
[Asri] The web browser is powered by WebKit2. Other that missing the Flash support, I can say the web browser on MeeGo Harmattan blows other mobile browsers out of the water easily. The one that I tested is not final yet. Text reflow is still missing. Hopefully it will be implemented in the final firmware.
[AAM] MeeGo Harmattan does not support Flash. It does however support HTML5. Therefore, sites like YouTube will be loaded in their HTML5 variants and videos will be streamed to the N9’s internal video player.
[Nokia] Currently, there is no plan to support Flash in the browser, but Nokia browser comes with latest Webkit2 engine and have excellent HTML5 support for web applications.
[AAM] The event view has three, horizontally separated, lists. One for social networks (and possibly RSS feeds), one for phone notifications and another calendar events. Important (e.g. phone) notifications are pinned to the top of the list. Details of how items are separated need to be confirmed.
Can Music Unlimited subscriptions be transferred to the N9?
[Nokia] The Ovi music Unlimited subscription service is available through the purchase of an OMU device and neither the subscription nor the downloaded tracks or albums can be transferred to the Nokia N9.
[Nokia] We believe both N8 and N9 are appealing to different segments of consumers. For consumers who are looking for best-in-class imaging in a mobile phone, we believe N8 will meet their needs. For consumers who are looking for simplicity and appreciate the all-screen design of the Nokia N9, that is the best phone to meet their needs.
Is a Banana Yellow version in the cards? That'd complete N9's CMYK lineup.
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