Nokia goes back to Android with new N1 tablet

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While Nokia may have sold off its mobile devices division to Microsoft, that doesn’t mean the Finnish company has not stopped manufacturing. Earlier today, Nokia announced that it will be bringing out a brand new tablet called the Nokia N1 – and it will be running on the latest version of Android, version 5.0 Lollipop.

Featuring a 7.9-inch display (at 4:3 aspect ratio), the Nokia N1 continues to follow Nokia’s famous and simple design language. The entire unibody is made out of aluminum with a soft finish of Lava Grey and Natural Aluminum to make it stand out from the crowd, according to Nokia. The device is also lightweight (weighing 318g) and thin (with a thickness of 6.9mm).

Hardware specs include a 64-bit 2.3GHz Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel camera at the front, and an 8-megapixel camera at the rear. It will come with 32GB of storage, and it appears that it will not have an expandable memory slot. It has also revealed that the device will be using the brand new Type-C USB connector, which will allow you to plug it in any way you want.

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Like every other OEM, Nokia has put its own things on the base Android install – including its own launcher, the Z Launcher. Based on the screenshots, it feels like a refined version of its Meego interface from the Nokia N9, with the circular icons and the emphasis on gestures. That said, the gestures seem to be limited to the app search functionality.

The Z Launcher is also available to all other Android devices via the Google Play store, so you too can try it out on your tablet or smartphone.

So, when is it coming out? Nokia says that it hopes to be released in China by the first quarter of next year for US$249, before moving to other markets – but that is on the assumption that it finds an OEM partner. Nokia may have designed and produced the prototype, it wants the OEM to handle the manufacturing, distribution and marketing.

“In addition to the Nokia brand, Nokia is licensing the industrial design, Z Launcher software layer and IP on a running royalty basis to the OEM partner. The OEM partner is responsible for full business execution, from engineering and sales to customer care, including liabilities and warranty costs, inbound IP and software licensing and contractual agreements with 3rd parties,” Nokia said in its press statement announcing the N1.

It may sound strange, but that is now how Nokia works these days – especially most of its manufacturing was sold off to Microsoft as part of the Mobile Devices deal they signed last year. It is interested in research and development, so it can create patents to license off to other manufacturers.

It will be interesting to see if this ever comes out, and we will keep you posted if it does have an OEM partner.

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