Disclosure: The organizers of Slush paid my way to Helsinki. Our coverage remains objective.
Nokia unveiled its N1 Android tablet today. The new device marks the Finnish company’s return to the consumer market in the wake of selling off its devices business to Microsoft earlier this year.
Nokia also unveiled its Z Launcher smart Android user interface today. The new app lets you scribble on a screen and call up exactly what you want to reach, as a short cut to what you want to find, said Sebastian Nystrom, head of products business at Nokia. The app is available for free, published in the Google Play store for Android devices.
The company made the announcements at the Slush 2014 conference in Helsinki.
“They say Nokia is dead,” he said. “They say Nokia is no more. They even say rest in peace, Nokia. I say they couldn’t be more wrong.”
“This conference is about new beginnings, and we have a great new beginning to share,” he said. “It is the tablet that thinks ahead.”
Nokia sold its mobile devices business to Microsoft in May. Nystrom was among those who stayed behind with Nokia’s own infrastructure business. The company asked if it wanted to stay in the consumer space.
The team decided that at heart, “We are about bring the magic of technology to real people.” The goal is to make the sophisticated simple, and bringing it to everyday life, he said. “Nokia is about making great design better and available to everybody,” he said.
He said the tablet device has a 2.3-gigahertz 64-bt quad-core processor, loaded with the Z Launcher. Nokia expects to sell it for $249, plus tax. It will debut in China for Chinese New Year in 2015, and then roll out to other markets. It weighs about 300 grams.
As for the Nokia Z Launcher, he said we spend too much time searching for app icons and files stored in a folder. The Nokia Z Launcher is an Android home screen that lets you scribble on a screen and find what you want. It learns and adapts, he said.
It predicts what you want. In the morning, it gives you Facebook, Twitter, and email. In the office, it gives you work-related apps. In the evening, it gives you Spotify or Netflix.
“It’s delightfully simple to use,” said Nystrom.