The timing of this phone is awkward, because it's born in difficult times for Nokia. Nokia is re-inventing itself. They have realized that
- the importance of software in mobile phones has grown.
- each user must be encouraged to customize his own phone, because smart-phones are general purpose devices with endless possibilities.
- independent software developers must be welcomed and treated with great respect.
- operating systems must be stable, both technically and life-cycle wise.
- user interfaces must be intuitive and visually attractive.
- software must be developed with a sense of direction and not as an after-thought.
- services must be for the user and not just a source of income for the provider.
- phones and smart-phones are very different devices.
The N9 demos and tests I've seen, show that Nokia will eventually release an extremely nice phone with an innovative and attractive user interface. I assume the N9 is just for practice and for market research. I further assume the first Microsoft-Nokia smart-phone will not be on the market until 2012. And that will have Windows Mobile 7 or 8 and a user interface quite similar to what's in the N9. I think it looks great! The device itself seems very Nokianic, which to me means well built with cool Finnish design.
The app-shop for Windows Mobile phones, like Nokia phones will be, is only a starter now, at least if this is it: http://marketplace.windowsphone.com/
Like the App Store, Rome wasn't built in a day. I think it will be a great success.
There's one last thing I'd like to say about the Microsoft and Nokia collaboration. To make it really successful, they should exclude others. By that I mean only Nokia should be allowed to make phones for Windows Mobile. That would make the partnership more Apple-like, and that would be a good thing.