Nokia N9 is beautiful, flawed, doomed

This is my Next's Vlad Savov reviews the Nokia N9, "one of the most fascinating phones of the last few years." Beautifully designed and toting a linux-based operating system that can actually scroll smoothly, it is a dead end thanks to Nokia's decision to switch to Windows Phone. The Nokia appstore is "Chernobyl" and the phone itself "flawed and doomed", Savov writes, but he still likes it: "the N9 has delivered on Nokia’s promises of 2010. It’s just a shame that the Nokia of 2011 didn’t believe in itself enough to see them through."


  1. Seriously good review, thanks for the heads up!

    I really wish they will take whatever they learned from the UI design of this phone and move it to their other phones. They really did get it right this time… but just too late for Meego. I’m really waffling on what to do… the phone is nice, and I really do want it… but…

  2. The N9 (or rather, the way Elop has treated it) will be the death of Nokia.

    I am a long-time Nokia fan. Their handsets are always beautifully made and designed and are a class above any of the boring, soulless products from HTC, Samsung, LG et al. In many ways I prefer even my flawed N8 to my iPhone4 (the camera eats Apple’s for lunch, for one thing) , and would without hestitation upgrade to the N9 if Nokia had made it available to me.

    What I won’t do, however, is buy a WP7 Nokia. I have no interest in tying myself into the MS ecosystem. I don’t particularly care that Nokia want to go that way, I’d just like an N9 for myself. I don’t understand why they can’t have both systems. If they’d gone with Android I’d probably have stuck with them, but MeeGo was the way I wanted them to go.

    However, Nokia have decided that they won’t even give me the option. The result is that they’ll lose me as a customer and  will almost certainly end up with a Galaxy Nexus or something similar as my next phone. I don’t really want Android, but I want rid of Apple and I know I don’t want Microsoft.

    I don’t see why I should have to trawl around resellers and importers to get hold of an N9 or why I should do that and continue to give my custom to a company that is treating me so contemptuously.

    I can’t imagine any other company would hold back the first product they’ve produced in years that people were genuinely excited by in the fear that they would damage sales of another of their products that (so far as I can tell) most people couldn’t give a toss about.

    Goodbye Nokia. It’s been emotional.

  3. Great article (and fair) on a great piece of kit that just wasn’t destined to make it I suppose. It looks like Nokia really did put as much care and thought into their Harmattan UI as Apple did into iOS. Too bad. Nokia’s Windows phones will probably boost the Windows phone OS marketshare by offering some sexy hardware (there is supposed to be a version nearly physically identical to the N9). Whether you love the Windows phone OS or not, it is a lot different than what’s been out there. Choice is good.

    BTW – a smooth scrolling linux based OS… is that a dig on Symbian or Android, Rob? I know I sound like a reactionist Android fan, but my Sprint variant of the Android toting Galaxy SII I just got scrolls pages like greased pig spit. Which is to say, fast.

  4. It’s based on MeeGo. Not only has this platform been abandoned, it isn’t even very impressive in a Lovecraftian manner. Brain canisters? Whatever. Why don’t they create a Shoggoth platform?

  5. After they killed Meego along with the N900 I have no interest in ever buying a Nokia again. Too bad because the N900 is one of the best phones I’ve ever owned. I work in Telecom and have access to tons of different phones and it is right at the top of what I want in a phone.  

  6. I’ve given up.

    When my current N900 dies I’ll be fine with any old dumb phone because I’ve bought a netbook, upgraded it with Linux,  and I will cart that around with me.

  7. Another sad N900 user and former long time Nokia fan here. I was really looking forward to the N9, but Mr Elop just couldn’t give us one last hurrah and allow this device to succeed. Plus after a terrible 2 month experience dealing with Nokia’s worthless support dept, I’m done. Have fun failing with your WP7 phones.

  8. Picked one up just for my own geeky curiosity and am now in love and using it as my primary phone. It combines the openness of the N900 with a design that makes the iPhone look clunky in comparison. One major improvement over the N900 is the Maps and Navigation which works perfectly out of the box and which appear to be maintained in parallel with Symbian. At least I think so –  there was just a Symbian map update and my N9 got it too. This was my primary beef with the N900 but it has now been fixed to perfection. Also the 5GHz WLAN connectivity is nice. Too bad about the crappy app store but I guess that’s the price you pay for using a “super-car phone” ;-) 

  9. I say the blame should be put squarely on the short term thinking that is driving shareholder to out CEOs that do not provide impressive leaks in share price each quarter.

  10. The nice thing about this series (from the 770 to the n9) is how open they are. The only thing that beats them is the openmoko. This means that even if nokia abandon them, the community can still keep updating the software on them. meamo, meego and tizen are close to a standard linux distro, so it is easy to recompile existing software for them.

    It would be great if despite all attempts to kill the n9, it still sells better than the WP7s that replace it.

    1. Sadly they are not open enough for real long term maintenance. At least not the 770 to N810, where the power management is a closed lib.

  11. The review is missing something important that it just doesn’t mention: ROOTED OUT OF THE BOX.

    No shady hacking involved. Go to settings and [x] enable developer mode. Instant root shell.

    I bought myself the N9 and I just love this thing. Best portable Linux shell ever! Seriously!

Comments are closed.