back to article Nokia unveils Contractual Obligation Meego Phone

Nokia announced four new phones at an event in Singapore today, three aimed at emerging markets and one at collectors of esoteric dead-end mobile hardware. Nokia's long awaited debut Meego phone, the N9, was finally unveiled. Meego was Nokia's high-end future platform until four months ago. No new Symbian phones were announced, …

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WTF?

And the point.....

is/was?

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WTF?

Why oh, why?

One night stand with a new platform?

You do not change platforms at the wave of a magic wand. You stick with them.

In sickness and in health until a force major tells you apart. Similarly, if you have to divorce yourself from a platform you have to prepare for a major spend. It does not matter if it is a civilized divorce or "Divorzo a la Siciliana". It costs in both cases. Nokia's financials and market share are a a testament to that.

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Boffin

The point is ...

Nokia isn't going to be a 'one trick pony'.

Apple only offers one type of handset. Not everyone wants a touch screen phone.

(My wife is one of them.)

Nokia has always had multiple handsets and it looks like they will continue to offer them.

While they've pushed out Symbian to Accenture, everyone said it was the death of Symbian. Its not. Had Nokia kept Symbian in house and shifted the developers to other things, Symbian would have died. Moving it to Accenture gives Symbian some more life.

Releasing the phone is actually a good thing. Only don't tell the commentards that.

Also you have to ask yourself... did Elop bring Microsoft to Nokia, or prior to Elop, did Microsoft and Nokia (or one of its wholly owned subsidiaries) have an existing relationship with Microsoft?

Yeah.its real easy to jump to the wrong conclusions when you don't have all of the facts.

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Mushroom

Might as well have thrown it into the sea

You obviously have no experience with Accenture hacks.

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Er, really..

"Symbian would have died. Moving it to Accenture gives Symbian some more life*."

Your'e having a fuc'king larf!

What happened when Mokia Networks moved it's basestation software developers - on the eve of Nokia/NSN transition - to Aricent?

Yep, read their CV's and stories on Linkedin.

If '*Life', you're talking about a month, I agree. I await my latest and final Symbian update for my N8 next month. I won't hold my breath. If the last update is as crap as I'd expect from something giving no ROI, then I'll 'accidentally' drop the fuc*ker, and buy a Samsung with the insurance.

NOKIA - Connecting People.

Now, NOKIA - Disconnecting Customers.

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the C2-03, bears an uncanny resemblance to the Palm Pre

Really?

In the same way that the N9 can be said to bear "uncanny resemblance" to the iPhone? Stretching it a bit I reckon..

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Good-bye, Nokia

What a dreadful shame! There was never a CDMA version of the n900, and now it appears there will never be a Nokia in my future. I wonder how many others were eagerly awaiting the right linux-powered phone from Nokia who will now never ever consider them again due to this heinous and short-sighted deal with microsoft...

Probably not many compared to the gigantic number of people who would rather have an elective root canal than use the god-awful wince7.

Either way, someone obviously sold out the company for personal gain, and there should be an investigation.

Windows on mobile has been a bad joke from the very start. Every single person I've ever known who had a wince phone got it because they were clueless and didn't know better or because it was free or super cheap. No-one aspires to own a wince7 phone, and now surely no-one aspires to own a Nokia either... Good job snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Nokia!

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Microsoft licensing?

"There's no home, send or receive, or any other buttons on the front of the device. This is something Windows licensees aren't permitted to do by Microsoft, so strict are the standard licensing conditions."

What does Windows licensing have to do with MeeGo? Did I miss something?

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Anonymous Coward

probably an observation that

Nokia has given up on platforms (such as Meego) where it can dictate how its phones work and what they do in order to become a Windows licensee with all the capacity to innovate and differentiate that that entails.

Or something.

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"Nokia unveils first and last ever Meego phone"

You might believe that, but I certainly don't.

It is widely believed that there can only be three mainstream smartphone ecosystems, in addition to niche platforms such as RIM, and with Android and Apple IOS occupying two of those positions the race to be the third depends massively on the perception of momentum.

Nokia want to be (a part of) that third platform and they didn’t have confidence that MeeGo could take them there.

But even if adopting Win7 mobile for smartphones was a ‘necessary’ choice for Nokia, what does it mean for open platforms like Meego whose competitive advantage is enhanced by its cross-platform development environment?

On the surface it looks pretty bad:

1. MeeGo is no longer a smartphone platform, it has now become a smartphone ‘project’ which will limit itself a single 2011 release before morphing into R&D for future concepts. What this means is that stage 5 of 5 will probably not attract much commercial developer interest, nor see investment in services expected of a tier one device.

2. QT will not be offered as a development platform for Nokia Win7 phones, that will be in the hands of Microsoft, effectively killing Nokia’s ambition to see QT as the premier mobile development platform. What this means is that as far as Nokia is concerned QT has very little utility as a strategic asset and so investment will plummet.

3. Microsoft Marketplace will replace Ovi-Store as the store for applications on Nokia Win7 devices, and this is unlikely to be made available to MeeGo devices. This may not matter quite as much as it initially appears however as an entirely separate app-store ecosystem has grown up around Nokia/MeeGo in the form of Project Bretzn.

This is in no way a desirable outcome as far as this blog is concerned, for there is no dream of a mainstream open platform any longer, but perhaps it will survive as a niche platform?

Nokia currently spends nearly three times as much on R&D as its peers. So when we see that investment by Nokia will decline by a third, and investment in MeeGo will be squeezed to less than half of what it was, perhaps we need a little perspective.

MeeGo alone will probably see an annual investment of circa $200 million. If we likewise contrast that to the circa $800 million to be invested in “Windows Phone” then we can guess that “MeeGo” phones will attract as much as one fifth of the investment that Nokia will put into “Mobile Phones – Platforms” as well as “Services” which amounts to circa $350 million per year. That said, $350 million would be the upper ceiling given that MeeGo is now a ‘project’ rather than a platform, so lets halve that figure and call it $175 million a year in platforms and services.

So, in a like-for-like comparison with competitors, a total investment of around $400 million dollars a year doesn’t appear too desperate, provided one understands that it is being kept as a niche platform and not promoted as a mainstream competitor to Android and Apples IOS.

It should also be noted that Nokia show Win7 as replacing the Symbian platform which occupies the mid-to-high end of the companies offering, a total that represents less than 60% of Nokia’s projected future sales.

Nokia were quite happy to show the death of Symbian in graphic format, the same would be true for Meego, but they didn't.

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Anonymous Coward

errrr so how come ...

"the departure of most of the developers and Meego boss Alberto Torres" happened?

They didn't have a lot of confidence in Nokia's commitment to Meego. Well, less than you seem to have.

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Pint

Customers will decide

Yes. Also, whatever the plans of Elop and Nokia board (and it doesn't look as their plan develop exactly as expected so far...), it will be the customers who will decide the future of Meego at Nokia.

If sufficient Nokia users decide to try the N9, it will have support. Particularly if WP7 continues to be the commercial flop it currently is. And whatever Elop preference is, because in the end it's the bottom line that counts.

Another factor there: I'm sure a lot of employees in Nokia are rooting for the N9 vs. WP7 phones and don't see them as Microsoft OEM. They'll push all they can for the N9. If there is sufficient support in front from Nokia phone users, there can be a meeting of souls and money following to turn the big shots opinion in time.

So in the crazy situation Nokia is right now the future is actually more open that what PR declarations from high on want people to believe.

A beer, as a toast, to all the Nokia people who worked on bringing what looks like a nice phone is such an adverse context. I may get one myself.

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Nokia App Store

Actually Nokia will still have their own App Store when WP7 comes around. So you are quite wrong in that there will be no Nokia Ovi store; you are correct in that there will be no Ovi as Nokia has dropped that name. They will have a store though.

Nokia still has Qt and is the main developer behind it. Qt still remains a part of Nokia and I believe I see what Elop is doing. Elop sees that the phone OS is not relevant in the future. HTML 5 will allow apps to run on the handset and not really be an app at all. So that does change the ecosystem somewhat. It doesn't require an app store. There will be a need for native apps though and this is where Qt comes into play. Microsoft may not have plans for Qt on WP7, but Nokia apparently has been given the go ahead for changes. Case in point, their own app store.

Here is what Elop has said about the deal:

“We have established a relationship with Microsoft that allows Nokia to jointly drive the future of Windows Phone 7. To jointly define the language, functions and customizations that you’ll see in the future of Windows Phone 7. To have unique access to and the ability to do unique differentiating things relative to Android around software design, chipset support, and display configuration. And, of course, to ensure that it is competitive to Android and Apple.

At the same time we have to make sure we can differentiate within the Windows Phone ecosystem. Nokia has exclusive technologies – one example is our camera technology that you see on the N8 – and, because of this unique relationship with Microsoft, contribute capabilities like that to a Nokia Windows Phone 7 phone that you will not see on any other Windows Phone device.

We have the ability to do customizations and extensions to the software environment that are unique and therefore differentiate. It’s very important to understand this is not a standard OEM agreement. Microsoft is placing a big bet on us.”

So Nokia can do quite a bit of customization and make their products different. I expect that Nokai will take WP7 and put their UI on it along with Qt. This will allow WP7 apps as well as Qt apps to run on the handset. Nokis is just looking at having someone else manage the OS much like Symbian was and Nokia just put their UI on it. WP7 is their next Symbian and keeps Nokia from investing money into a OS, they just invest in a UI. If WP7 and future releases doesn't cut it, Nokia can take MeeGo or another OS and just put Qt and their UI on it and it will be transparent to the user. You have app portability at that point. So WP7 from Nokia will not be the WP7 that you currently know of. It doesn't take 8-months to get a handset out the door given the requirements Microsoft has for WP7. The manufacturers are just assemblers at that point and Microsoft give a rough reference design. Nokia is working on the UI/Qt port while they are waiting for Mango from Microsoft. That is why it will take 8-months for a Nokia WP7 handset.

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FAIL

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrgh

I'd been waiting patiently for an upgrade to the N900. This is most assuredly not it. If they'd managed a physical keyboard on the thing they'd at least have managed to sell to enthusiast types, but as it is this offers absolutely nothing over an Android device. Who'd going to bother buying this? Unless it comes out at a bargain basement price, no-one. I'm sure that'll be used as a justification for abandoning the platform.

What a disappointment. Nokia deserve to be MS resellers.

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FAIL

Observe the past

"I'd been waiting patiently for an upgrade to the N900."

If by that you mean an actual software upgrade for the N900 hardware, you need to study history a bit better.

N770 came out. Had one update. N800 came out, N770 abandoned - no system updates from Nokia (yes, there was the Hacker edition, largely done by the community).

N800 came out. Had one update. N810 came out, N800 abandoned (at least from a system level. True, the N800 and the N810 were compatible at the application level, but no real system updates.)

N810 WiMAX came out. Nobody really cared, as WiMAX was stillborn due to the cell carriers being afraid to roll it out.

N900 came out. N8?0 abandoned.

That was a large part of why Nokia failed in the smartphone market - they would abandon older phones and OSs in a cocaine heartbeat, as soon as 'teh new shinee" came out. That may work for dumb phones that people don't expect to upgrade or even to really hang on to, but for a smartphone it was the kiss of death.

(says a bitter owner of BOTH a N770 and N800. Now I have an Android phone).

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FAIL

There's always

There's always the N950 that was also announced that does have a proper keyb, but that's got 'for developer' all over the marketing, and afaik not even a hardware guaranty.

Guess I upgrade to Android from N900 then...

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Devil

Seconded

I have an N95 and an E71 and Nokia abandoned both about a year before let's say Apple abandoned the iDevices released simultaneously with them.

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look before you leap

"That was a large part of why Nokia failed in the smartphone market"

erm, really? The N770, N800 and N810 weren't smartphones, in that they weren't phones (or barely were, in the case of the N810 WiMax). They were internet tablets and they were _specifically_ aimed at developers; part of this was that it was pretty bleeding obvious they weren't going to support them when they had a new developer device out. Most of the people I know who had those devices seemed to understand that perfectly well in advance.

The N900 was a smartphone, but it too was very clearly positioned as a developer device, not a mass market one, with very limited support commitments. If you didn't recognize that going in, well, more fool you, really.

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FAIL

Re: look before you leap

"The N900 was a smartphone, but it too was very clearly positioned as a developer device, not a mass market one, with very limited support commitments. If you didn't recognize that going in, well, more fool you, really."

By stating this, you indicate and yet excuse why Nokia have failed in the smartphone/tablet market: every Nxxx device was an excuse which said, "We're not ready to line up the ducks just yet. Here's another go!" Add the continuous platform reshuffling and you've managed only to capture developers willing to develop for one or maybe two models, the audience for which is at most a few thousand people (who are also developers, not the mass-market), who you then manage to annoy by not really supporting the hardware properly at all. (Stern Finnish voice: "You do not need to look inside this black box or question why it does not work properly! Why do you want it to work with a different kernel?")

More fool Nokia, as everyone can clearly see.

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Anonymous Coward

Specs...

"It may be an orphan from a burning platform, but the N9 provides the sort of high-end specifications absent in Nokia's current Symbian smartphones."

Like what?

For example....Camera - Symbian N8 12MP, Meego N9, 8MP. Both record/playback 720p, but I would be surprised int he N9 record is as good as the N8 (fps etc), given the device doing the encoding.

Where are the spec deficiencies on the N8? I don't include processor power - Symbian doesn't need a 1Ghz processor to run at the same user speed as Android/Meego etc, so that's a red herring. What else?

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both are rubbish

By todays standards both are poorly specced.

The N8 runs an ARM11 processor, so no native flash there.

The N9 runs something that can be considered a mid-range chip from one of last years models.

Compared to the recent rash of super powerful dual-core android releases, or even Sony's single core (but very pretty) phones, the spec of the N9 is almost comical at how far behind the pack it is.

Some people would say 'raw speed isn't everything', but would you really buy a slower meego phone when you can get a faster android one for equal or less money?!?

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Boffin

@tmTM

I still don't understand the fixation with clock speed. If then N9 can play back HD video (Matroska FTW), the UI is smooth and multitasking works nicely (many Ifs there), then what do you need more megaherz or cores for?

This coming from a gamer who's jumped off the annual PC update hamster wheel. The games I play look nice as it is ...

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well.....

I don't understand the great speed race either, how ever my point still stands:

Would you buy this phone if another phone with faster graphics and processor was available for equal or less money??

I'm thinking most would go for the faster phone.

Although this N9 packs NFC - wether or not thats interesting to people only time will tell.

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Go

Burning plattform?

If MeeGo is on par with the hardware, this might be pretty awesome.

Will we get a review any time soon?

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Linux

I've played with one.

It's well impressive. It has the best maps app I've ever seen on a smartphone.

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Anonymous Coward

I can't agree with Orlowski on this one ...

Most consumers don't give a f**k what is running on their phones as long as it looks good.

This phone, looks good, is well built and, for a smartphone, is very simple to use. There are three home screens, one for all your communications, one for all your apps and one for all your running apps. I think this makes this phone the easiest to use out of all others. Certainly a piece of piss to learn. Show someone the three screens and the swipe gestures to summon them and that's it. Also, the best AF 8MP camera phone on the market.

It has, at least, the potential to sell like hotcakes. The market will decide is that is so.

Samsung dumped a few million Bada phones on the market and nobody gave a sh!t, they sold lots of them, they basically created a whole ecosystem overnight. Meego is an easier play than that as it can already run all the QT apps (and probably Android apps before too long).

I think Nokia will support this and release future models also, for no other reason (even though there are more than a few) to let MS know that Nokia do not depend on them completely.

I also think Orlowski is confusing the N9 with the N950. The N950 will be for hobbyists and developers as Nokia intended. The N9 is quite obviously a mainstream play, I mean, just look at it FFS

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: I can't agree with Orlowski on this one ...

Er. No.

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@AC 09:51

No, you are right, the n950 is a distinct device;

http://www.themobileindian.com/news/1639_Nokia-reveals-another-Meego-device-the-N950

I thought it was going to be called the N9, too.

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Facepalm

Re: Re: I can't agree with Orlowski on this one

Er. Yes then...

Noted, Article Title Change.

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Linux

I tend to agree

The Maemo tablet series bubbled along quite happily in the background until they made the catastrophic decision to chuck it all in the bin and start again. This is the 'start again' and I must say it looks quite good. I agree the average spoilt-rich-numpty doesn't give a toss what OS his/her phone is running. The UI looks intuitive and simple. The third party apps look good (they've had plenty of time to get them right, let's be honest). If the price is right and it's bug-free on launch, I think it may well sell. Apart from anything else, it's an alternative if the first windows devices turn out to be crap. Certainly the flash support and tethering-out-of-the-box is one in the eye for the fanbois.

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Yes, they do.

Some people may 'try' a meego nokia, but they will soon be very put off by the lack of apps and the inability to get hold of whatever app their iOS and android friends are raving about.

They'll soon get fed up of the same niggling problems that the phone has and which never get fixed.

Some people may try this Nokia, but you can be sure they won't return for the next one.

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Anonymous Coward

"This is something Windows licensees aren't permitted to do by Microsoft"

Nokia, what have you done?

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One Possible Answer

""This is something Windows licensees aren't permitted to do by Microsoft" .... Nokia, what have you done?" ...... enigmatix Posted Tuesday 21st June 2011 10:13 GMT

Apparently cracked Microsoft Core Code Algorithm/Virtual Driver.

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Alien

cracked Microsoft Core Code Algorithm/Virtual Driver?

""This is something Windows licensees aren't permitted to do by Microsoft" .... Nokia, what have you done?" ...... enigmatix Posted Tuesday 21st June 2011 10:13 GMT

> Apparently cracked Microsoft Core Code Algorithm/Virtual Driver, amanfromMars 1

The author was makes the point that Nokia are abiding by the Microsoft licensing conditions. What was your point. Please translate into English for the benefit of us who haven't visited your planet.

--

"Ekkeri-akairi, fillissin-follas. Kivi a-kavi, nakalas! Nakalas! Ukair-an ... jan, jan, jan"

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Better analogy

Actually the analogy uses Butter and lake-effect snow, to describe a paradigm shift in the Microsoft Agreement Driver Alporhythym, wherein a change of recipe finds them eating their own dogfood (whereas their partners end up eating what comes out the other end...) Since it's obvious how those all work together to produce the current situation I won't bother to spell it out. Get with it!

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looks beautiful

why didn't its designers go to work on the preceding generations of nokia phones?

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Almost sold

There are some good hardware upgrades there, but NO KEYBOARD?

The physical keyboard is the only thing that makes using things like the python development environment and the terminal in any way tolerable!

And no, there's not really a joke or any sarcasm in that. I actually like being able to do that sort of thing on my phone.

The sad thing is that it's still probably the best phone on the market for the likes of me.

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Linux

Bluetooth baby

"There are some good hardware upgrades there, but NO KEYBOARD?"

Sorry, but my Android phone has a "keyboard" - I use scare quotes because it is too small to do anything useful on.

You want a physical keyboard? Use a Bluetooth keyboard like the Nokia keyboard or the Stowaway. You will have an almost-real-sized keyboard, with real number keys that don't take a function key to work, and real symbol keys, that you can touch-type on.

That's what I used on my N800, and were I going to get serious about anything command line like on my Android, I'd pair it to the keyboard.

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Apple BT keyboard

I use an Apple wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard with my N8 - it works like a dream for remote-controlling the phone when it's linked up to our telly. Even more so when I add in my BT mouse...

(if there isn't a pocket-protector icon down there, there should be ;-) )

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Yeah, I know

But it is an extra thing to carry. i like the slidy keyboard on the N900. I know it's a brick compared to a lot of the newest smart phoens, but that doesn't bother me all that much.

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Linux

Shows what could have been

A classy looking phone that Nokia probably could have announced at MWC rather than the suicide note of switching to MS and WP7. Going with MeeGo would have meant that developers using Qt could have developed for the millions of Symbian S^3 phones already out there. It could have prolonged the life of Symbian and allow Nokia to keep their own app store and the revenue stream from it.

It was Elop who set fire to the platform yet we now have a MeeGo phone about six months ahead of WP7 one from them. I believe MeeGo particularly because it is so open. Interesting to see if China Mobile make use of it.

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Pint

I'll want one

Even if it's not 100% polished, it's a true Linux phone and buying one is a nice way of flipping the bird to Mr. Elop.

http://www.developer.nokia.com/Devices/Device_specifications/N9-00/

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Anonymous Coward

@I'll want one

Me too, in a slightly sad, end of an era, linux fanboi kind-of-a-way

sighs, looks wistfully to the middle distance, shakes head, sighs again

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Life Long Nokia fan............

I have an E65 right now and will use this 'till it blows up.

But what are the options : google with it's control and pseudo open source ? Nope. Apple with its..... everything ? Never.

MS on Nokia hardware ? I doubt it.

The thing that made Nokia so @#$!ing brilliant was the software made the hardware so simple to use, no matter how 'smart' the device was.

I really hope my E65 last as long as it takes Nokia to realise MS is simply not the way to go.

P.

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far from a dead end...

...using Alien Dalvik you can run any android app on Meego. this could be what I've been waiting for - a Linux phone without the Google lock-in.

Just wish it was the originally envisaged N97-alike-QWERTY-slider that I wanted to replace my Desire Z

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No keyboard = no sale

Like many others I've been waiting for the N9 in the hope it would be the N900 successor I'm looking for. Then I heard the rumours it would be sans keyboard, and gave up hope. Then someone in another comment thread on here gave me some hope back that it might be a slider after all - sadly the first rumours were right after all :(

I would have been happy going with it as a "first and last" Meego Nokia, as the community around the platform is reasonably strong and it appeals to my inner geek - but the lack of a keyboard is a deal breaker.

The sad thing is the rest of the spec is pretty much exactly what I'm after and it's a nice looking bit of kit too, but no keyboard.... sorry Nokia, and goodbye. Back to the seemingly vain wait for the phone I want.

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why oh why

Can't help but think that Nokia's Microsoft love affair will be the death knell of Nokia. A once mighty, lovely platform, Symbian was great in its day (and maybe still could be, I don't know as I haven't seen the N8 in action)

Meego, on the surface looks a great idea, and a great platform, that Nokia could have developed to whatever specs they needed rather than retrofit Windows crapness.

Sad to say but I suspect that in few years we'll be lamenting the demise of Nokia and they'll be the Singer Sewing Machines of the 21st century.

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.. oh why

I got my wife a Nokia C7 (like the N8, but a bit cheaper), which in general has a much nicer feel to it than my Motorola Milestone, and doesn't crash as much. I do like the slide out keyboard on my Milestone though.

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My wife has a C7 too...

It really does seem to be a popular device with the ladies - sports many of the features of the N8 (which I own), but with what seems to me to be a bit more "feminine" style (whatever that may mean).

When I think how close she came to owning a Samsung Tocco Lite... [shudder]... thank you, Carphone Warehouse, for advising us differently...

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