Just months after Nokia sold its Lumia and Asha businesses to Microsoft, a new division called Nokia Technologies (opens in new tab) has revealed an upcoming tablet sporting Android 5.0 "Lollipop" called the N1 (opens in new tab). This is the new division's first Android tablet, and it comes packed with proprietary features such as the Nokia Z Launcher and "Scribble" technology. The tablet is expected to arrive in Q1 2015, and manufactured and sold by OEMs.
So what gives? How is this new arm of Nokia able to manufacture a tablet when the mobile division was sold to Microsoft? According to a Nokia rep, the Microsoft deal means that Nokia cannot license its brand for use on smartphones until after the end of 2015. Nokia also cannot sell its own smartphones until sometime in 2016. This agreement does not apply to tablets.
Nokia revealed that the tablet has a 7.9-inch fully-laminated display with a 2048 x 1536 resolution and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. This screen is backed by a 64-bit quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor clocked at 2.3 GHz, a PowerVR G6430 GPU clocked at 533 MHz, and 2 GB of LPDDR3 memory. All of this is powered by a 5300 mAh lithium polymer battery.
The specs also show that the tablet includes 32 GB of storage, an 8MP camera with autofocus on the back, a 5MP camera on the front (fixed focus), two 0.5 watt stereo speakers, a microphone, Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, and a micro USB 2.0 port with a Type-C reversible connector. Overall, the tablet measures just 0.27 inches thin, 7.90 inches high and 5.45 inches wide.
The big selling point for Nokia is its "predictive" engine, which is powered by the company's Nokia Z Launcher. This feature keeps a tab on what the user is doing, learning where the user is going, and what he/she does on the tablet. The engine will provide shortcuts on the Home screen so that the user has immediate access to the most-used features and destinations.
Another important feature is the company's "Scribble" technology. This allows users to draw a letter on the home screen by merely using a fingertip. As a result, a list of web content, apps and so on beginning with that letter will be generated and displayed on the Home screen. For instance, draw an "A" on the screen and a list could include Angry Birds, Apple.com, Amazon.com, and a link to the address book.
The big news here is that Nokia has formed a new "Technologies" division that is producing a new tablet. A rep from Nokia said that the N1 has already been licensed out to an external partner who will manufacture and distribute the device. The rep couldn't comment on other products that Nokia Technologies has in the pipeline.
Ultimately, the specs of the N1 show that Nokia Technologies means business in the tablet market, that it's not producing a budget-focused "me too" product. The biggest contender will be Apple iPad Mini 3, which currently has a starting price of $399 (opens in new tab) and a strikingly similar form factor. However, at this time, the Nokia N1 is heading to China first for $249 in Q1 2015 and is expected to hit other European markets such as Russia thereafter. With that in mind, we'll have to wait and see how well the Nokia device will fare against the Apple rival and similar tablets sold overseas.
Currently, a possible launch in North America is unknown at this time.