Monday, August 20, 2012

Nokia N9 MeeGo smartphone is alive and well.. in eBay

Nokia N9 Sold Out

Despite the efforts of Nokia (or should I say its current management) to disown its first (and last) MeeGo powered smartphone, the handset was on the market long enough to capture the imagination of many gadgeteers in search of something different, better.

To help "focus" the whole company in no other bet but Microsoft's Windows Phone, Symbian was prematurely passed in an infamous not-so-internal Burning Memo (but also because of Nokia laziness in rewriting the UI) and S40 buried into the dumb phones group. The N9 (and MeeGo), on the other hand, was solemnly declared by the CEO as an "experiment" while first units weren't still unloaded from the trucks into the shops. The N9 also got the weakest marketing campaign ever (read: none) any phone would deserve.

Despite all this efforts, the Nokia N9 was (is) actually a rather decent piece of kit -hardware wise- with a unibody polycarbonate chassis never seen before (then raped by its Lumia relatives) and that let no one indifferent.

It is the inner software though, what impressed everyone. Even the folks at engadget, that used to be quite demanding about Nokia products, wrote in their review:

It's arguably the first competitive flagship phone to come out of Espoo since the launch of the original iPhone -- a stunning feat when you consider how far behind the company was even just a year ago. This is the handset that puts any lingering doubts about Nokia's engineering chops to rest. We have dreams of MeeGo running on Galaxy Nexus-class superphones. Yet despite all that, it was killed before even getting a chance to prove its worth. At least the current hardware -- with its fantastic design, amazing screen and top-notch camera -- will likely be reborn as the Sea Ray (guess we'll find out at Nokia World next week). Still, it's a shame about the software, because given the choice, we'd pick MeeGo over Mango, despite its weaker ecosystem.

All these qualities could not go unnoticed. Albeit discontinued since last March (but also out of the mainstream shops for longer), the Nokia N9 finds a new home in the internet marketplace. As per writing this, eBay is steadily featuring hundreds of Nokia N9 auctions of all sorts, with premium asking and sales prices (sometimes beating those of iPhone 4S and S3, when in Artic White).

Both used and NIB units use to get sold in most "buy it now" listings, but the standard auctions is where the fun is, with uncountable outbids that rise the price shortly below their one-click rivals (sometimes just above).

Five hundred grands is not a quantity many would spend just to play a little bit with a new toy. Fact is there is -still- a demand for the "Nokia N9 + MeeGo" combo that gives a good measure of how promising it was (something @jollamobile might agree with).

I really wish Nokia to succeed. I do hope Windows Phone 8 will bring Nokia the opportunity to regain its place in the smartphone crowd. But if they do not, the elongated shadow of the martyr they've just produced might end being quite inconvenient in a future shareholders meeting.