unveiled its new flagship phone, the N97, which is clearly meant to compete with the iPhone and Google's Android platform. Unlike the iPhone, however, the N97 has a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard. In terms of its other hardware features, the N97 also clearly outperforms the iPhone. The N97 supports up to 48 GB of storage, including the 32 GB that are already built-in. The phone has a 5 megapixel camera and its GPS is capable of giving turn-by-turn directions. The resolution of the phone's 16:9 touchscreen is 640x360.Nokia today
The phone will also be able to make use of Nokia's updated mapping product, which will feature 3D landmarks and, according to Nokia, is more versatile than Google Maps. These new maps themselves pose a major challenge to Google, as Nokia will, at some point in the near future, allow users to point their phones at a building and get relevant information (and presumably advertising) about that building on their phone.
Of course, the iPhone's real advantage (as well as that of any Android phone) was never its hardware, but its operating system and the overall elegance of its user interface. It is hard to say where the N97 falls here based on the videos we have seen so far. Earlier Nokia N-series phones also featured extremely capable hardware, but the operating system made it extremely hard to make good use of these features. In terms of software, Nokia does have one ace up its sleeve, and that is the N97's ability to play Flash videos and games. The OS also supports copy and paste, which is still sorely missing on the iPhone.
The main feature of the phone's touch-enhanced Symbian OS is its support for widgets, which will be open for third-party developers and are available for download through an application on the phone itself. Nokia calls the N97 a 'mobile computer,' and a lot of its success will surely depend on the applications that third-party developers will develop for the phone. Apple's App store already features over 10,000 native applications, so Nokia definitely has to play catch-up here.
We have to say that the phone's hardware and user interface look extremely slick. Of course, we haven't been able to get our hands on one yet, and the demo video is nice, but as we know from Apple's ads, these videos can be quite deceptive as well.
Overall, the N97 looks like a formidable challenger (especially with regards to its hardware specs), but much of its success will depend on the quality and ease of use of its user interface.