FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia will launch its N9 smartphone on 23 September, but it is still refusing to announce availability in the UK.
A countdown timer to the launch has appeared on the Swedish web page for the N9 smartphone. The phone will be Nokia's first and last handset to run the Meego operating system.
The INQUIRER spoke with Nokia, which confirmed that the timer applies to the launch of the N9 in Sweden but said it is still keeping quiet about any launch in the UK.
Nokia announced the N9 in June, and only days later we became concerned that it might not tip up on our shores. The product page for the N9 on Nokia's web site lacked, and still lacks, the UK under the list of countries to check availability.
That hasn't changed, even though Nokia told us, "We will share more information about the specific markets and the pricing closer to product availability."
It seems it is getting more and more likely that the Finnish phone firm won't bring the N9 to the UK but instead will keep us waiting for its first Windows Phone 7 (WP7) handset, which it leaked shortly after it announced the N9.
The N9 has gained a lot of interest and in general it got everyone excited about what looks like a pretty decent smartphone. But maybe Nokia is so obsessed with making its first WP7 smartphone a success that it doesn't want the N9 getting in the way.
Nevertheless there are signs that the N9 could still make it over here. A handful of online retailers have product pages for the phone including Play.com, Expansys.com and Digital-phone.co.uk. None of these retailers have availability dates for the N9 but the latter has a pre-order price of £499.
The trading team at The Carphone Warehouse told The INQUIRER, "The Nokia N9 is not planned for release in the UK at this stage. Should the status change and availability at the Carphone Warehouse become a possibility we will let you know."
So far, the phone hasn't appeared on any of the major mobile operators' coming soon pages.
The future of Nokia rests in a delicate balance, apparently, and we're hoping that it will grace us with the N9, but we'll have to wait and see what happens.
Nokia has confirmed to The INQUIRER that, as it stands, the firm won't be bringing the N9 to the UK. In a statement it said, "Although we are delighted with the very positive reception that the Nokia N9 has received, here in the UK there are no plans to offer the Nokia N9 at present."
The statement also said, "As an organisation Nokia takes a market by market approach to product rollout and each country decides which products to introduce from those available. These decisions are based on a local assessment of existing and upcoming products that make up Nokia's product portfolio and are intended to provide the best local portfolio for the UK market."
In other words, its upcoming handsets that run Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 are too important and it doesn't want its Meego OS based N9 smartphone to distract from them. Or maybe, overshadow them. µ
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