The first tablet to emerge from the Nokia-Microsoft tryst is the N1, an Android-driven, 7.9 inch slab of high-end tablet tech which Nokia hopes will signal their winning return to the hardware market.
Nokia dipped their oar into the tablet waters back in late 2013 with the little-known slate, the Lumia 2520. This 10.1 inch tablet barely registered with the fickle tablet consumer and was quickly forgotten, due in no small part to the fact that it had been lumbered with Windows RT and was up against the iPad in the higher-end price band.
This N1 tablet is the first new piece of kit to roll from the Nokia production line since the Microsoft deal and has been doing the rounds on social media prior to its official unveiling at Nokia’s recent Slush startup conference in Helsinki.
Nokia’s new N1 looks incredibly Apple-esque with its stylishly curved edges reminiscent of the best-selling iPhone 6. Couple this Apple-inspired rounded frame with the symmetrical speaker grilles and USB connector and you could be forgiven for thinking that the N1 was simply the next instalment of Apple’s iPad range. Not that this is a bad thing – the N1 is a very good-looking piece of kit. But for those loyal Nokiarists who stuck it out in the early days of the Lumia range – through the ignominy of those rubberised, neon eyesores – it may feel like a bit of a disappointment that the Finns have ditched the distinctive Lumia form factor in favour of an iPad lookalike.
The N1 will be shipped with Nokia’s own Android Z Launcher in a bid to distinguish it from the plethora of Android devices currently crowding the market.
Nokia’s new tablet is going to be running a 2.3GHz Intel 64-bit Z3580 Atom processor and comes fitted with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage, but there’s no microSD support, unfortunately.
The device’s power connector is the fresher Type-C reversible USB 2.0, bringing it up to the level with Apple’s reversible Lightning connector. Nokia has gone for an 8-megapixel rear camera with auto-focus and a 5-megapixel front-facing fixed-focus camera for those all-important selfies.
The Nokia N1 will first be served up in China in February 2015, just in time for the Chinese New Year. Its price point is likely to be in and around $249. Nokia have yet to disclose when it might be expected in European and North American markets.