N97 was a disaster for users, admits Nokia exec

While Nokia's first N-series touchscreen smartphone was a success in terms of sales, Nokia has confessed that the N97 was a disaster in terms of providing a good user experience.

According to Anssi Vanjoki, exec VP of market at Nokia, the N97 was a tremendous disappointment for consumers when they came to use it. The company had not expected such a negative reaction following the launch of the N97 given the prior success of its N95 and N96 handsets.

While the latest firmware updates to the N97 are said to have significantly improved the performance of the device, Vanjokia admitted that the damage had already been done to it credibility. "It has been an unbelievable cycle of things for us," Vanjoki said, "that has taken far too long to repair and mitigate."

In explaining the software issues, Vanjoki stated: "Even if you have the most stringent quality control mechanism, something slips. One thing leads to another thing--you fix that and actually you make things worse."

The N97 was first announced in December 2008 but was much delayed until its launch in June 2009. The handset was then shipped using the Symbian^1 OS which had already been superseded. "We stretched for too long, something which should not have been stretched," Vanjoki confirmed.

However, the Nokia exec claims that the company has learned from the experience, and promised that the new Symbian^3 OS platform--which has switched to an open-source model--would be much better: "We have taken the lessons and when Symbian^3 comes out you can rest assured it will be perfect. We now have software that is properly tested not only by our engineers and in our labs, but normal people out in the marketplace."

For more on this story:

Related stories:
Nokia loses brand awareness as N97 'iPhone killer' launched
Skype on Nokia N97 invokes wrath of carriers
Video: Nokia N97 Demo
Nokia expects handset market to grow 10% in 2010