After selling their mobile devices division to Microsoft earlier this year, Nokia has been hard at work building out their other revenue streams such as their established LTE radios division, Here Maps service and dabbling in Android with their Z Launcher. But tonight, Nokia has stepped further into the Android eco-system, by neatly skirting the ban on producing smartphones and launching the Nokia N1, an Android based tablet.
The N1 signals the return for the Finnish company to consumer devices, announcing the N1 during the Slush 2014 conference in Finland. While the sale of the mobile devices division to Microsoft prevents them from releasing any new smartphones for around 3-5 years, tablets are apparently a different story entirely – hence, the N1.
The N1 tablet shows some of the design flair that Nokia has shown in the past, although there’s already many comparisons to the iPad Mini floating around based on the design and the size. Nokia has the distinction of being one of the first companies to announce an Android tablet running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) straight out of the box. But it won’t be all stock Android, with Nokia planning to pre-install their home-brew Z Launcher on the tablet.
Hardware wise, the N1 is premium all the way, featuring an anodized aluminium housing with a 7.9″ IPS display and a 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor clocked at 2.4GHz. It also features 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. Power wise, Nokia has announced that the N1 contains a 5,300 mAh battery, which will provide up to 9 hours of usage on a single charge.
The N1 will also be one of the first tablets to feature the universal insertion 2.0 USB C-type port. Announced earlier this year, the USB C-type port will accept a USB cable no matter which way it’s inserted. No more attempting to plug that microUSB cable in three times before it goes in anymore.
The Nokia N1 will run stock Android 5.0 (Lollipop) but will ship with a special tablet version of the Z Launcher app that is exclusive to the N1. The company has advised that Z Launcher won’t be locked, with user able to install other launchers if they choose to do so.
Nokia will release the N1 this coming February after the Chinese New Year, launching first in China, where it’s expected to cost about US$249. It will then launch the tablet in Russia and several European markets in the following months. Retail availability is expected to be limited, with Nokia not announcing any plans to launch the tablet anywhere else at this time. We will be reaching out to Nokia for comment to find out if and when the Nokia N1 will be available here.
According to GigaOm, the Nokia N1 will actually ship with Google Apps – so there’s great news there if you were looking forward to this tablet. You’ll get all the usual Google Apps most likely bundled in the new configuration which includes ‘Google’, ‘Create’ and ‘Play’ folders on the home screen, including the Google Play Store.
Want to try out Z Launcher and found it’s US-only? Try downloading the APK, we simply downloaded it straight from the Play Store as we outlined in our How-To guide. You can download it directly from here.: