Nokia Unveils The N97, Its Real iPhone Competitor - InformationWeek

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12/2/2008
03:15 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Nokia Unveils The N97, Its Real iPhone Competitor

Today in Barcelona, Nokia announced its flagship multimedia phone for 2009, the N97. The N97 sports a 3.5-inch touch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard for messaging. Other specs include 3G, Wi-Fi, 5-megapixel camera, GPS, and a whole lot more.

Today in Barcelona, Nokia announced its flagship multimedia phone for 2009, the N97. The N97 sports a 3.5-inch touch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard for messaging. Other specs include 3G, Wi-Fi, 5-megapixel camera, GPS, and a whole lot more.Last night, Nokia treated a handful of bloggers to some hands-on time with the new Nokia N97. It's the most exciting product to come from Nokia in some time. Product managers were calling it the "Facebook Phone" because it's aimed at mobile social networkers and multimedia mavens. If you want a device that does nearly everything, this is it.

See images of the phone here.

Here's a rundown of the specs: tri-band HSDPA 3G support; 802.11b/g Wi-Fi; aGPS and standalone GPS; 3.5-inch touch-resistive touch screen that measures 640-by-360 pixels in a 16:9 wide-screen format; 32 GB of built-in memory, with support for another 16 GB with the addition of a microSD card; 5-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, LED flash, and video capture at 30 frames per second; on-board accelerometer and compass; and support for Flash Lite 3.0 and Flash Video in the browser. Not bad. Not bad at all.

As for the hardware, the preview units we saw were literally built by hand and the product managers couldn't stress enough that they are many generations away from being final. That said, the hardware was very good. The hinge that slides the top half of the phone open was solid and had no side-to-side play. The keyboard was spacious and comfortable to type on. The buttons all felt good, and the materials were quality all around.

What the Nokia product managers were most excited about was the revised home screen. The new home screen features a revamped interface, resembling that of the 5800 XpressMusic. It has built-in access to social networking functions, such as Facebook and MySpace. The home screen is fully customizable, so users can set it up to match their usage.

In all, it is one of the best answers from the mobile industry to the Apple iPhone yet. It isn't perfect, but we'll reserve final judgment for when the devices reaches production (some time in the second half of 2009). It will be priced at 550 euros, which is about $695.

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