Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nokia: No N9 for USA, but Plenty of WP7

So August 9 might not be as drastic of a day as February 11, but it was still not full of good news. Firstly, @engadget reported that someone from Nokia confirmed that the N9 was not going to be released in the United States (possibly all of North America). So I don't get thought of as spinning the story, here is the exact quote:

After the very positive reception to the launch of the Nokia N9, the product is now being rolled out in countries around the world. At this time we will not be making it available in the US. Nokia takes a market by market approach to product rollout, and each country makes its own decisions about which products to introduce from those available. Decisions are based on an assessment of existing and upcoming products that make up Nokia’s extensive product portfolio and the best way in which to address local market opportunities.
 Now, my pal @mikemacias of Mobile Fanatics pointed out a few key phrases that indicates the N9 will eventually come stateside, just not under any carrier subsidy.

At this time we will not be making it available in the US
Meaning, it could very well come two, three, six, or twelve months after its initial release (looking to be slated for mid- to late-September in most Euro markets). However, just like three (E73 Mode, Astound, and Nuron for T-Mobile) of Nokia's previous 13 smartphones (E6, X7, E7, C5-03, C7/Astound, C6-01, X6, X5-01, E73, E5, C6, N8, and 5230 Nuron) released have been picked up by a US carrier, I don't find it surprising the N9 slipped through the radar of the US cellular carriers. However, I buy all my phones unlocked, dating back to my feature phone days with Nokia, to my first smartphone (E61) and now with my N8. I don't mind paying for unlocked, but I do mind paying for unlocked, overseas prices (rumors are the N9 will debut around 599 GBP!!) and the hassle with buying from overseas. I see it as Mike does now, I feel the N9 could make its way to the states eventually, and as an unlocked, unsubsidized device via Amazon.

Decisions are based on an assessment of existing and upcoming products ...
 Another key phrase Mike pointed out, simply stating that Nokia is likely clearing the tables for a Windows Phone 7 device to be Nokia's sole phone entering the USA before the end of this year. It makes some sense, considering Nokia has often flooded the market before surrounding releases of flagship devices (N97 was surround with flurry of E-series devices, the N8 was surrounded by its lower-end cousins, the C6-01 and C7, not to mention budget devices like the E5, C3, and Touch-and-Type phones). So, by leaving a void, the US market could jump on Nokia's next big thing once it released, without the discernment of cluster and logjam with other Nokia devices looming.

The N9 is still a magnificent device, from the countless hands-on videos I have seen. I would love to develop for the MeeGo community and contribute to a platform that will be short-lived in the eyes of Nokia, just to have a sense of building a better gateway to the ecosystem for other users, but without an official release into the USA, I can't say the N9 will be a device I purchase unless the price is reasonable.

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