Nokia Unveils N9 Smartphone
Nokia, which has launched the N9 phone, is to cut 4,000 jobs worldwide by the end of 2012. Photograph: Markku Ulander/AFP/Getty Images
Nokia has launched a new smartphone, the N9, which uses its own Meego software, while chief executive Stephen Elop said he has "increased confidence" that the struggling Finnish mobile phone maker will launch its first Windows Phone device this year and ship in volume in 2012
"Our primary smartphone strategy is to focus on the Windows phone," Elop, who moved to Nokia from Microsoft last year, said at a telecom conference in Singapore. However he provided few details on how he planned to arrest a slide in Nokia's market share.
The N9 is the first – and last – smartphone from Nokia to run Meego. The commercial launch will be held later this year, the company said. The N9 model comes with a large touch screen and is available in black, cyan and magenta. The MeeGo platform - a newcomer in the market dominated by Google and Apple – was born in February 2010 when Nokia and Intel unveiled a merger of Nokia's Linux Maemo software platform with Intel's Moblin, which is also based on Linux open-source software. After Nokia pulled back from the project four months ago other vendors have become more interested in the technology as Nokia's dominant role in the project had held back others from adopting it.
Last month, Nokia said it decided to abandon hopes of meeting key targets just weeks after setting them, raising questions over whether Elop can deliver on a turnaround he promised in February.
Nokia has been losing ground in the smartphone market to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android devices, and in the low-end mobile phones to more nimble Asian rivals such as China's ZTE and India's Micromax.
In a research note this month, Nomura said Samsung Electronics will become the world's largest smartphone maker by volume this quarter and that the number of iPhones sold will mean Apple will take the number two spot next quarter, pushing Nokia to the third place.
Nokia has led the smartphone market since 1996 when it launched the Communicator, a smartphone that is popular in the business community for its ability to browse the internet as well as to receive and send emails, data and fax.
Nokia dumped plans to use MeeGo in its future smartphones when in February it picked Microsoft's Windows Phone as its future software choice, but it decided to unveil one of the models it was working on before closing the business line.
The partnership with Windows may not be a panacea for Nokia's troubles since rivals including HTC and ZTE will continue to bring out devices based on Microsoft's software.
Nokia's market value has plunged by more than half since February, after the leak of a memo from Elop that compared the company's market position to a man standing on a burning oil platform.