Yesterday, Nokia – the bits of the company that weren’t acquired by Microsoft, that is – teased the reveal of a mysterious black box. Today, the reveal has been, uh, revealed: the N1 tablet, a 7.9-inch slab that runs the latest version of stock Android and comes packed with the Z launcher, an app that the company is touting as the best way to go from thought to app.
Announced at the Slush conference in Helsinki, the N1is 6.9 mm (0.27 inches) thin, boasts a 7.9-inch laminated display, a 64-bit Intel Quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, and an 8 MP/5 MP rear camera/front camera combination. Running Android 5.0 out of the box, the N1 might even give the Nexus 9 a run for its money – and at $249, that shouldn’t be too tough. However, it’s also pretty clear that the N1 was built to go after the iPad Mini 3, featuring many of the exact same design hallmarks and screen size.
One of the big selling points Nokia is pushing here, however, is the Z Launcher. Available in beta now from the Google Play Store, the Z Launcher will supposedly learn more about how you use your device depending on where you are, the time of day, and what you typically use in those contexts. The launcher also utilizes a unique search technique; instead of launching apps by searching them out with the keyboard, users can scribble a letter, which prompts the launcher to present a selection of apps it thinks you might be trying to find. I haven’t spent any time with it, but it’s an interesting concept for sure.
According to the Verge, the N1 will launch in China around Chinese New Year, or around February 19, 2015. After that, it’s set to hit Russia and some other European territories – but it’s not clear when or if the N1 will come to the United States. It’s an interesting direction for Nokia considering that it won’t be making smartphones with that division living inside of Microsoft now. What else will Nokia do given this new tablet?