Nokia returns with N1 Android tablet

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Nokia is back and is back in style! Being a product that marks the former phone giant’s return to consumer electronics, naturally the announcement that Nokia is releasing an Android tablet is causing quite a stir. Sites as diverse as the Android Police and the BBC, the Phone Arena and Forbes, quickly gave Nokia’s announcement some deserved attention.

So should we be excited about the style, workings and capabilities of the N1 Android Tablet? Or is the hype merely bubbling because it’s the first product Nokia has released since it sold its smartphone business to Microsoft and is likely to be a disappointment?

Forbes, fairy impartially we have to admit, details the N1’s spec with little commentary or opinion. This 7.9-inch tablet has a Gorilla Glass 3 covered with IPS panel running at 2048 x 1536 pixels. The CPU is an Intel Z3580 which has 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage and runs at 2.3 GHz.

The camera is an eight-megapixel rear camera and a five-megapixel forward facing camera, perfect, of course, for taking ‘selfies’. As Forbes writes, it will be interesting to see if Nokia has “retained its legendary image capability.”

The BBC spoke of how Nokia’s “surprise launch” pits the company against Microsoft, which concluded its takeover of Nokia’s previous mobile devices in April this year.

The BBC also points out how Nokia says it will not be making the device itself, but has instead licensed its design, software and brand to a third-party.

So what about the N1’s design?

Uncanny resemblance of the iPad Mini is one comment that is woven through a significant proportion of the preview reviews.

Digital Versus talks of the iPad Mini resemblance, stating how, with a screen that even uses the same 4:3 ratio, the designers must have taken some “serious inspiration from the iPad Mini.”

“So much so, in fact, that it’ll be difficult for the Nokia to plead ignorance.”

Admitting that Nokia, doesn’t “do things by half”, Digital Versus is quick to point out that its tablet is designed around the very latest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop.

The 5.0 Lollipop is, as Android proudly asserts, the “largest and most ambitious release for Android yet!”

Asides the Android 5.0 Lollipop, the N1 is overlaid with the Nokia Z Launcher interface, a feature almost every report of the N1 is keen to mention.

As Wired mentions, Nokia describes its Z Launcher as “predictive”, as it enables users to quickly scribble a letter or two to retrieve content on the tablet quickly and efficiently. Eventually the Z Launcher will apparently learn which apps are in use and will predict what users are requiring based on the time of day and the user’s location – could be a tad frustrating we fear if the Launcher gets it wrong!

Of its design, Wired remarks that the colourful Lumias which Nokia were once celebrated for are gone, and it in place stands a single piece of aluminium with slightly rounded corners that look suspiciously like a device we’ve seen before that sports an Apple logo!

All in all there is a wave of excitement circulating the press about Nokia’s return to the consumer market – a return that is definitely ambitious.

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The N1 looks set to retail at $250 and should be released in the first quarter of 2015.