Nokia Confirms No US Release of N9, Abandons MeeGo in US

After weeks of speculation regarding the fate of the N9′s release pattern after its unveiling earlier this Summer, Nokia has decided to place its bets squarely on Windows Phone 7 in the US and has stated that it will not offer the MeeGo-based N9 in the US, effectively cutting it off from its largest potential market and the largest concentration of MeeGo developers in the US with the following statement:

“After the very positive reception to the launch of the Nokia N9, the product is now being rolled out in countries around the world. At this time we will not be making it available in the US. Nokia takes a market by market approach to product rollout, and each country makes its own decisions about which products to introduce from those available. Decisions are based on an assessment of existing and upcoming products that make up Nokia’s extensive product portfolio and the best way in which to address local market opportunities.”

Nokia has also made a similar statement in regards to a release in the UK, suggesting that the company is intentionally limiting its release in order to draw attention away from it and towards Windows Phone 7. This should not come as a surprise considering CEO Stephen Elop’s previous statements regarding MeeGo after the initial announcement of the N9, but many after experiencing the device had nothing but genuine praise for the device and platform and hoped it would be released, even if it meant a limited release with little official support.

In its current form, the N9 features a full capacitive AMOLED touch display at WVGA resolution with a new navigation concept: “Swipe”. The phone does away with hardware or software based home buttons and uses swiping gestures to navigate throughout the device. Preliminary hardware specifications for the device consist of the aforementioned AMOLED display, dedicated hardware camera button tied to an 8.0 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss wide angle optics and 720p video capture, and an option for 16 or 64GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM, GPS, NFC support and full US 3G support despite its decision.

As it stands, it seems that Nokia is really sticking to its goals of de-emphasizing Symbian and MeeGo, though it is doing so at the cost of its potential to recover from its increasingly marginalized position in the smartphone space in the wake of Apple’s iPhone and Android, especially in the US. The N9 was seen as the first Nokia smartphone that would make a legitimate impact for the company since the heady days of the N Series, which was its last major success. Now with the confirmation of no US launch, US Nokia and MeeGo fans/developers alike will be left to wonder what might have been, as the manufacturer still struggles to maintain relevance in the US and struggles with rapidly declining marketshare abroad  stemming from the rise of low-cost Indian and Chinese manufacturers.

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