Nokia launches N97 – new touchscreen behemoth

Mobile phones

Yesterday, Nokia execs teased the world’s tech bloggers by saying that they had a big announcement, and were surprised that it hadn’t leaked. I’m surprised too – the big announcement is the N97. It’s the followup to their brilliant, and ridiculously successful N95, and semi-upgrade the N96.

The specs on this baby promise a lot. It’ll have a 3.5″, 640 x 360 touchscreen display (16:9, not 16:10), a QWERTY keyboard, HSDPA and Wi-Fi, 32GB(!) of onboard memory, a 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, “DVD-quality” video capture (eat that, iPhone), and a battery that promises to pump out a day and a half of continuous audio playback.

Best of all, Nokia promises an ‘always-open’ window to the internet and social networking sites. If that integration runs clearly through the phone, it could be very powerful indeed. This is Nokia’s answer to the iPhone. The specs certainly win the day, but can they crack the all-important interface? We’ll have to wait and see in Q1/2 2009.

For more detailed coverage, check out iPhonic’s post about the N97, where they’re quaking in their boots…

Nokia N97 (via Engadget)

Related posts: N96 Bruce Lee edition – enter the handset | MWC 2008: Nokia N96 versus Nokia N95

Duncan Geere
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  • Agreed, that’s why I went for the N95 in the end.

    With a decent (for a phone) camera, QWERTY pad, touchscreen and the Nokia brand behind it, it should be a serious contender appealing to the masses that might not be aware of HTC/RIM.

    All I’d like to see is some assurance of a fast OS (or a slow OS and masses of CPU power… but not at the expense of battery life!) and I’m sold.

  • @Duncan, It’s probably just me being fussy but I find it’s slow to respond when switching from landscape to portrait view, loading up the camera, etc.

    And there are some things I don’t really find intuitive but they’re probably a combination of the Nokia software and whatever junk Orange have added on (I think I’ve got about 3 music stores, 5 ways to connect to the Internet, etc).

    It’s the lack of a QWERTY pad that kills the fun for me

    • Yeah, both of those things are true, I suppose. I think I’m just used to them now, after having had the device for over a year.

      You have to admit, though, there aren’t a lot of phones around that are much snappier. The iPhone, in particular, crawls sometimes. The fastest phones are the ones with very few features.

      As for QWERTY – I’ve never used one on a phone personally, so I’m fine with the keypad. I can see that changing in the future, though.

  • Wow, I return from a recce to the high street to investigate smartphone handsets and find this article!

    Hopefully Nokia won’t use Symbian for the N97 as it struggles already on my N95. When I say struggles, it only occasionally crashes but for most of the time it’s just sluggish when going through the motions of photo > MMS > send, and other worthwhile tasks.

    The G1 impressed me today, but I don’t want to be on T-Mobile and I think the next “wave” of Android based handsets will be better.

    The local Orange store couldn’t show me the HTC Touch HD. FAIL.

    I don’t want an iPhone. Not until Apple offer native MMS support. FAIL.

    Maybe a RIM BB Storm… but then I don’t want to be on Vodafone either (sorry Shiny Shiny!).

    • That’s interesting – I’ve never had any issues with Symbian on my N95 – it seems fine. In complete contrast with the N96 I tested which was horribly sluggish.

      I really wanted to like the G1too, but as you say – it doesn’t seem *quite* there yet, and I don’t want to be stuck on T-Mo.

      My contracts not up until March, so I can wait for the time being. My N95 is still better than 90% of other phones out there. I’m not desperate to switch to a touchscreen, so I’ll see what the state of the market is like come Q2 next year, once I’ve tried the N97 out.

  • Sounds great on paper. but I net there will be a few more 32 gig phones by then. Put me down for one though

    • That’s true, but will they be expandable to 48GB using a microSD card? I suspect not…

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