Nokia comes roaring back from Valhalla with N1 tablet computer

18 Nov 2014

Just when you thought the Nokia brand had disappeared into the history books, the Finnish mobile manufacturer has come roaring back from Valhalla with a smart new tablet computer called the N1.

The tablet computer, which is powered by a 64-bit Intel quad-core processor, has a one-piece aluminium body.

It is the first major product launch from Nokia since Microsoft concluded its acquisition of Nokia’s mobile division earlier this summer. Microsoft has just begun phasing out the use of the Nokia brand on its Lumia devices.

In recent days, rumours have surfaced that Nokia is preparing to return to the mobile market and if anything, the surprise launch of a new tablet computer suggests there is plenty of ambition still in the hearts of Nokia innovators in Finland.

The device has a 7.9-inch laminated display, exactly the same size as the Apple iPad mini and mini 2.

The N1 is powered by Android 5.0 Lollipop, has 2GB of memory and 32GB of storage.

The Nokia N1 tablet computer

The key differentiating factor is the inclusion of Nokia’s own software, a launch screen called Nokia Z Launcher, which is a kind of home screen that learns a user’s behaviour to ensure they get the right apps at the most relevant time.

The device has a 6-axis gyro and accelerometer, two 0.5W stereo speakers and a 5300 mAh rechargeable battery.

The N1 weights just 318 grams, is 6.9mm thick and comes in two colours, sand-blasted natural aluminum or lava grey.

In terms of cameras, the tablet has an 8MP rear-facing camera with auto focus and 1080p recording, and a 5MP front-facing camera with fixed focus.

Availability of Nokia N1 tablet computer

The N1 will be brought to market in the first quarter of 2015 through a licensing agreement with an as-yet unnamed original equipment manufacturer that will manufacture, distribute and sell the device. However, a quick glance at an inside-out image of the new tablet reveals that not only does it contain an Intel Moorefield processor but it happens to be made by a company in China called McNair New Power Co.

The N1 is planned to be available for purchase in China in the first quarter of 2015 for an estimated US$249 before taxes, with the anticipation of expanding sales to other markets.

“We are pleased to bring the Nokia brand back into consumers’ hands with the N1 Android tablet, and to help make sophisticated technologies simple,” said Sebastian Nyström, head of products at Nokia Technologies, who announced the N1 at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki.

“The N1 has a delightfully intuitive interface and an industrial design to match it. This is a great product for Nokia fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet.”

Inside the Nokia N1 tablet computer

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years