In a surprise move, Nokia has announced its first Android tablet, dubbed the N1.
The N1 features a 7.9 inch display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536, runs on Android Lollipop and bears a striking resemblance to the iPad Mini. The tablet is crafted from a single piece of anodized aluminum and looks premium. The display is an IPS LCD panel and it comes laminated with zero air gap. It weighs 318 grams and with a width of 6.9mm, it’s lighter and thinner than the iPad Mini.
Under the hood, it’s powered by the new Intel Atom processor Z3580 processor that clocks in at 2.4GHz. Alongside, it has 2GB of RAM. At the back, there is an 8MP camera and a 5MP camera is provided at the front. On the storage side of things, it comes with non-expandable 32GB in-built memory. Other features include a reversible Type C micro-USB port, stereo speakers and a 5300 mAh rated battery.
While the tablet runs Android 5.o, Nokia is focusing on pushing its new Z Launcher. It changes the apps and contacts on display depending on location and what you’re doing at that moment. In addition, you can also scribble letters on the screen to pull up apps.
Brook Eaton, who is the director for Z Launcher, said, “We started looking around, we just didn’t find any good Android tablets out there. We have such a beautiful, simple, and elegant Z Launcher. Why not build a device that is also built on the same principles as being super simple and easy to use and elegant?”
The N1 tablet will be available in two colors: ‘Natural Aluminum’ and ‘Lava Grey’, and will cost $249 plus tax. It is expected to become available in China in mid February and make its way to selected markets after that.
If you remember, Nokia sold it’s devices and business units to Microsoft around 7 months ago for $7.2 billion. Fortunately for Nokia, Microsoft has decided to go forward with the Lumia brand for their Windows Phone devices. So the real Nokia are free to use their brand name for future devices. They still can’t sell any smartphones under their name until 2016 as part of the deal but tablets aren’t covered by the agreement.
The company has also announced that it will go back into the smartphone arena indirectly through licensing after 2016. With the release of the N1 Android tablet, we’ve got an early taste of that strategy. Foxconn are building the tablet and they have licensed the Nokia brand name. The N1 is expected to be the first of many such products under similar agreements.
Concerns about brand dilution are valid but Ramzi Haidamus, Nokia’s technology chief, says that the bar for licencing rights is set very high. In an interview with FT, he added that the N1 was a product of Nokia’s industrial design team and the company had full control over design quality. What this all means is that the Nokia devices we are seeing today will bear little resemblance to future products. It also pretty much guarantees that we will see an Android powered smartphone bearing the familiar Nokia moniker at some point in time.