Nokia lifts lid on MeeGo-powered N9, available down under in Q3

The Nokia N9 is the company's first ever "pure touch" smartphone, and the first to run the MeeGo operating system

Nokia's N9 MeeGo smartphone

Nokia's N9 MeeGo smartphone

Embattled Nokia today unveiled the world's first smartphone running the MeeGo operating system, the Nokia N9, and also revealed that the device would be available in Australia in Q3.

Check out our guide to the best upcoming smartphones in 2011.

Techworld Australia feature: Nokia N9 vs. iPhone 4

The Nokia N9 is the company's first ever "pure touch" smartphone, and the first to run the open sourced MeeGo operating system. The N9 is a candybar handset constructed from solid polymer, and according to Nokia it uses the same material found in ice hockey helmets. The company says the polycarbonate casing is coloured all the way through in the manufacturing process, so scratches, dents or marks from everyday use will not show up.

Nokia says the N9 has been designed to appeal to the "style conscious consumer" rather than serious technology buffs. It has no keypad or home button on the front, and the entire user interface is centered on touch and swiping gestures. The only physical controls on the phone are right-mounted volume and lock buttons.

The Nokia N9's 3.9in super AMOLED screen is curved, stretches from edge-to-edge and also boasts gorilla glass technology to prevent scratches and cracks. The phone will be available in three colours — black, magenta and cyan.

"There's genuine excitement and buzz around the Nokia N9," said Nokia Australia's managing director Chris Carr. "Australian consumer groups and our partners were recently shown the smartphone and their response was overwhelmingly positive. I'm really excited about bringing such a unique innovation piece to the Australian market."

The MeeGo operating system running the N9 is focussed on simplicity and according to Nokia will "cut through the clutter associated with traditional smartphone design." Amongst the user interface features include all apps available in the immediate home screen, a separate screen for notifications and events, full multitasking, notifications on the lock screen, embedded Facebook and Twitter clients, and a unified mail inbox.

The N9 does not support the ability to create folders for app sorting, does not support Adobe Flash Web video and does not have a microSD card slot. The smartphone will be available in 16GB and 64GB models.

Curiously, the Nokia N9 has built-in Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, but its not for wireless payments — the technology enables users to pair compatible Bluetooth devices by tapping them against the phone. Depending on the devices, it can also offer the ability to share content.

The Nokia N9 will launch in Australia in Q3, but Nokia says it is aiming for a release around the August time frame. Pricing has yet to be announced, and although no carrier details have been confirmed, the Nokia N9 is a pentaband 3G smartphone, meaning it will work on all Australian 3G mobile networks including Telstra's 850MHz next G network.

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