Nokia unwraps N9 MeeGo phone, remains committed to Symbian, WP7

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) unveiled its first device running the MeeGo platform, the N9, and announced some new Symbian devices at the company's Nokia Connections 2011 event in Singapore. Even though Nokia has named Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 7 as its primary smartphone platform for the future, the company is making it clear that it is not giving up on Symbian.

Click here to see a video of the N9's UI in action.

The N9 is the culmination of the partnership Nokia started last year with Intel, and is the firm's most ambitious attempt to capture some of the high-end smartphone market. Nokia has promised only to release one MeeGo device, and it's unclear whether the company will support MeeGo with additional products.

The N9 is notable in many respects, especially because it does not have a home button (or any other buttons). Instead, when users are running an application, they can swipe from the edge of the screen to return to the home screen. The phone sports curved glass, a 3.9-inch AMOLED display, 8-megapixel camera and Near Field Communications capabilities. Nokia said the device will come in 16 GB and 64 GB models, but did not reveal pricing. The company said it will share more information about specific N9 markets and pricing closer to commercial launch. The New York Times reported the N9 will sell unsubsidized for around $670 to $760, depending on the model.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said in an interview with the NYT that the company's transition is difficult because it involves changing the entire company, and cannot be done behind closed doors. Nonetheless, he said the N9 launch, which he pushed to accelerate, is a key part of Nokia's turnaround.

"It is an opportunity for us to test and to learn with the N9, but also to put a very clear statement in the market: Nokia continues to innovate, does beautiful work," Elop said in an interview with the Times. "Innovation is alive and well at Nokia."

Nokia also announced three new, low-cost Symbian devices, the C2-02, C2-O3 and C2-06, and said it will introduce a total of 10 new Symbian devices during the next 12 months. Elop told the Wall Street Journal that while smartphones remain a key part of Nokia's business, "the reality is that 90 percent of the world does not have or cannot afford a smartphone or a high-end device."

Additionally, Nokia said that starting in July, it will begin shipping Nokia N8s, E7s, C7s and C6-01s with the new Symbian Anna software update, and that by the end of August, existing owners of those models will be able to download Symbian Anna.

For more:
- see this Nokia release
- see this Nokia N9 release
- see this NYT article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article

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