Nokia has been a massive name in the mobile industry for a very long time. In a time before smartphones, and even feature phones, the Nokia “brick” design was one of the most popular designs on the market. Over the years, Nokia continued to prove their worth by creating solid, reliable phones - cell phones, feature phones, and even smartphones. It was only recently that Nokia has had to shy away from the market once they sold their mobile division to Microsoft. This sale prevented Nokia (which is still in business under “Nokia Technologies”) from selling smartphones, or even using the Nokia name on smartphones for an exclusive period of time.
But while smartphones might be out of the picture for the time being for Nokia, that’s not stopping them from making other gadgets. In fact, Nokia launched a new Android tablet, dubbed the ‘N1’ tablet, earlier this week. Nokia president Ramzi Haidamus claims that the N1 tablet is just as good as the iPad Mini, but comes at a much cheaper price. Specs include a 7.9-inch, 2048x1536 display; a quad core 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 processor at 2.3GHz; 2GB of RAM; 32GB of internal storage; 8-megapixel rear-facing camera; and 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The tablet also runs on Android 5.0 (Lollipop). The N1’s starting price is $250 - it’s really not a bad deal at all.
Much like other Android manufacturers, Nokia’s new tablet will run on its own “version” of Android by using the Nokia Z Launcher skin. It would be similar to Samsung’s TouchWiz or HTC’s Sense. Z Launcher’s main focus is learning how “you” operate and adapting to what you use most often on a daily basis. To find an app, you just “scribble” (or draw) the first letter of the app you want to open, select the app, and if you use that app often then Z Launcher will create a shortcut for you.
The N1 shows that Nokia is serious about entering the Android market, and when Nokia is eventually allowed to make smartphones again (sometime in 2016), I wonder if the company will be able to make as big of an impression on the Android side of the market as it did with the Windows Phone market. After all, Android is much more saturated with many more manufacturers than Windows Phone was, and Nokia would be entering the game pretty late.
I think the fact that Nokia is already a well-established brand in the mobile industry gives them a leg up, even among the stiff Android competition. One of the things that Nokia phones were/are most notable for is for their solidly built smartphones, which is something that many manufacturers have been straying from in order to create the thinnest or lightest phone on the market instead of something that can somewhat take a beating. Add that in with the fact that Nokia-made Android devices have been something that many people have been hoping for for a long time, and although the Nokia X phone was a Nokia-made Android smartphone, it still had a strong Windows Phone influence and, using a forked version of Android, didn’t even include Google Apps. One would have to root the phone to gain access to Google Apps, which not everybody wants to do.
If Nokia’s plan is to make every device like their N1 (that is, comparable to a more popular model yet cheaper) then I think they have a pretty big chance at succeeding with Android. I would love to see what Nokia has in store in the coming years in regards to expanding their Android lineup. Their Windows Phone line was arguably more developed than other manufacturers were able to offer; I wonder what magic they can bring to Android.