Ever since it became public knowledge that Microsoft and Nokia had teamed up to bring a new set of Windows Phone devices to market, I’ve been looking forward to see what Nokia would unveil. After all, Nokia’s hardware is usually always impressive in some form or another, so coupled with Microsoft’s new mobile platform seemed almost like a dream come true. And, much like any other mobile phone out there, I assumed that it wouldn’t be long before a handset leaked out onto the Internet, and the world would get its first glimpse of what Nokia has been cooking up. Call it bad timing, but I think Nokia has managed to take the easy way out with the “Sea Ray,” the device’s codename. Why? Because it’s just a Nokia N9 with Windows Phone tucked inside.
The Nokia N9 is the brand new handset that Nokia just announced, featuring the all new MeeGo 1.2 with Harmattan mobile platform. While some folks aren’t all that excited about the software, it’s the hardware that has most people talking. The device features a 3.9-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen that’s curved and features a resolution of 854x480. There’s a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 OMAP 3630 processor inside making sure everything ticks along at a nice clip, and 1GB of RAM. The device will come in either a 16 or 64GB version, and it features an 8MP Carl Zeiss camera around the back, with dual-LED flash. There’s a front-facing camera for good measure.
As usual, Nokia’s high-end device is a marriage of plenty of high-end hardware, making it a handset that many people are eager to get their hands on. So it shouldn’t be all that surprising that the Sea Ray, the codename for Nokia’s first Windows Phone-based device takes its design cues from the N9. But I’ll just come right out and say it: I was expecting more from Nokia. If the N9 hadn’t been announced, then this wouldn’t even be an issue. Even with missing the majority of information regarding the Sea Ray’s specifications, just the blurry-cam photos taken of the handset would have me interested in seeing more. Yet, now all I can think is that the first Windows Phone device from Nokia is really just an N9 with different software inside.
This isn’t me saying that the Sea Ray shouldn’t ever come to market. That’s definitely not the case. If Nokia keeps the hardware the same, changing only the radio technology inside for particular carriers here in the States, then I don’t see why the Sea Ray wouldn’t fly off the shelves. If hardware is one factor that starts selling Windows Phone for Microsoft, then the N9’s hardware is one way to get that show started.
What I’m saying is that Nokia should have a completely new, original device featuring Windows Phone as their first device with the mobile platform inside. Like I said above, it could just be bad timing, but I think Nokia shouldn’t have taken the easy way out with the N9’s hardware, using it to just put whatever software they want inside. Specifically, Windows Phone from Nokia shouldn’t be showcased on a device that’s promoted with another mobile OS. The first Windows Phone-powered device from Nokia should be original, and not just another handset with another OS.
There’s hope that Nokia was only showing off the Sea Ray, and specifically their hardware running Windows Phone 7 Mango, on the N9’s hardware because it was available and easy to make. There’s still a chance that Nokia’s first high-end Windows Phone isn’t just another N9. But, I doubt that’s the case considering there are differences between the N9 and the Sea Ray, like where the camera’s flash is located, and the inclusion of a hardware camera button on the Sea Ray, which is missing from the N9.
I think Nokia is taking the easy way out with their introduction to Windows Phone, and I hope that doesn’t reflect poorly on the mobile OS or Nokia. If they do plan on releasing the Sea Ray, then hopefully they’ve got more than one handset ready to ship around the world (and specifically here in the United States). What do you think of Nokia’s Sea Ray? Are they taking the easy way out? Or is it just about the hardware; who cares if it’s running another platform first? Let me know in the comments below.