Nokia N900 Maemo 5 handset was by far the most impressive device launched at Nokia World 09.
It has blown away anyone who was lucky enough to lay hands on it. I am not talking only about Nokia fanboys who are ready to praise anything the company makes. I include skeptics, who are ready to point out every single flaw they find.
Seriously. With about a hundred devices around, and available to every tech writer in place, try finding anyone bashing Nokia N900. And then compare that to the coverage Nokia N97 and N97 Mini got. See what I mean?
This reception of Nokia N900, contrasts very sharply with the attitude displayed toward the device by every Nokia exec who was talking about it.
You would think that, having made such a superb device, they would be preaching from every corner and pulpit to make sure we notice.
Instead, Anssi Vanjoki has spent a whopping 3 minutes at the end of 62 minute opening keynote (including OPK presentation), talking about N900. Half of that time was spent talking about the beginnings of Maemo platform, Nokia 770 internet tablet, and how this is just step 4 in five step program (read: somewhat unfinished product)!
And it went downhill from there.
In the follow up interviews we heard how this is just a niche product, how they see an open channel (non-subsidized, non-operator) as the main for N900 sales, that Nokia won’t really push N900 to operators, how it is important to sell N900 to the right people (read: limited sales and promotion), etc; etc;
The impression I get from all of this is of, if not an outright dismissal of N900 as a flagship for Nokia, then extreme cautiousness, expectations management and downplaying the potential attractiveness of the device.
And I wonder why that is.
One of the reasons might be that they do not want to jeopardize the sales of Nokia N97/97 mini. And looking at the price and specs of N97/N900, the profit that Nokia makes on N900 might be lower.
But, c’mon, Nokia,is that a good enough reason to limit a great device, such as N900, to a niche tech geek toy category? Have those years in the trenches of uber niche Maemo development community, blinded you to what you accomplished with N900?
The level of interest and praising attention that Nokia N900 got, is almost impossible to replicate with a follow-up product. No matter how much better Maemo 6 device will be, when Nokia completes it’s five step program, it will be very hard for them to repeat the “WOW!” moment of N900′s arrival.
Could it be that Nokia was taken completely by surprise by the reception N900 got? And now, like that dear caught in the headlights. watches the oncoming demand freight train, unsure which way to move?
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