A Once Featured Phone, Now Torchered Memory

The N9 has proven to be a very curious mobile partner in my life in the past months. Sure, there's this sense that owning it speaks to a defiance – could you even say luddie-inducing hubris – to the state of mobile these days. The comments from those who ask first say, "is it that new 'Droid," before contending that they never saw a Nokia act like that. Then there's the community, what's left of the core and what's planted into others, where the N9 continues to receive attention until better happens (Jolla, something running FirefoxOS, or the Ubuntu Edge some other FOSS competitor). It makes for an interesting case of "why persist" when you own this mobile. But, its clear that, at least since 2011, owning a Nokia, and especially the N9, revives pleasant memories, but also a torchered present.

If I were to place the context of memories in only a positive light, 2011 had a sense that Nokia still had a chance. Ok, anytime before that Burning Platforms Memo. But, even then you could acknowledge that "finally, Nokia has to come to its senses, move quickly in some other direction, and continue to be the pace-setter for mobile done well." I won't belabor the often written point. Its not really been like that for Nokia. And yet, the N9 was released that year with small fan-fare often seen in some niche online spaces, but rarely kept alive in the mainstream…

Loudness of the crowd does not a product make

Owning the N9 has been a neat case in being strategic towards whatever is to happen next with mobile. Not knowing when this device will keel over means that I save files in formats best read through modern XML viewers (whether that's HTML or something cleaner, it doesn't matter). I pick and choose accessories, while watching with my other devices how things devolve then evolve towards the smoothness of the N9. I mean, is it really that no one has done a UI that's moved from widgets and screens of apps?

But then if I get too happy, I'm pointed towards optimization scripts and apps. Apps that dive into a Terminal window when activated and plug the holes that were left to burn when Nokia jumped ship. Holes which probably are fixed in that mythical PR1.4 – but still there's no oil to be mined in this sea. The N9 was built with good intentions, yet the state of mobile changed before the drill could be lowered. And now the resource-generation happens through other methods.

The N9 is a bookmark of what mobile could have been in Nokia's future – imagine a 2013 device that had the weight of a logistical, telecom giant, connecting and enabling web services that deferred to the region and individual user, not (necessarily) to the venture capitalists and governments which seem to now dominate the conversation. Oh, it would be open [sourced], but it would have massive corporate reasons to succeed. Not a dominating device, a dominating mentality.

Before I set to write this, I grabbed my N9 and once again set its music player to play music that was purchased from a more supported device on a service that's a bit more friendly to me moving music to various devices. It feels like my N9 is nothing more than a phone that was once featured, but is now torchered. And yet, it stands in deference to aspects of mobile which seem to have grown out of the control to the memories that said it used to be better. Mobile, as it would seem to be defined by the N9 in 2013's lenses, could feature what matters most to the owner, or could be a signal of the pain that exists because we "haven't figured that they are not the intended audience nor have the buying power as the masses."

Any comments or questions on this article can be posted below.

Please note: Prior to undertaking any modification detailed above, understand that there are risks involved. Whilst every modification has been tested to work on the author's Nokia N9, there are no guarantees it will work on a different Nokia N9 or other mobile phone. EverythingN9 will not take responsibility for any effects of a mod, including hardware or software damage, telecommunication charges, or legal implications.

About the author


Mobility, Creative Thinking & Experiments, and a Maturing Faith's Passion; @mobileminmag Founder/Primary Voice


  1. Ruben

    Hi everythingn9 and Antoine!

    the N9 is still in 2013 a reference to the mobile evolution. It's potential, as we proud users perceive, it's only limited by today mobile specs. Even so, it still glows and shows of performance equally valid comparing to some mobiles in 2013. That is why switching to another mobile becomes a difficult and hard move to make. You simply don't find anything equally as pleasing and groundbreaking as you found in 2011.


    1. Antoine

      Hi Ruben; I agree. There really isn't anything like the N9 – unless you are in a market featuring the Asha 501, but even then, its unique. The UX paradigm is *different enough.* And though there have been attempts to do similar, I think Live Tiles on Windows Phone makes sense, BlinkFeed on HTC devices doesn't. But not just in the visual UX, I think that the mentality, almost like that of owning a supercar that needs that occasional Saturday garage time, is something that keeps the N9 going. That's not an applicable direction for all of mobile, but I do think it could have made for an interesting one if Nokia would have taken that swing.

  2. @N9Andy

    This is a great post, Antoine, and mirrors my feelings about the N9 completely. I still use and love mine, but it has transitioned from being my main, everyday device to my twice-a-week device. I like my 808 too, and I'm also starting to enjoy WP8 on the loaner devices I get from the guys at Nokia. So my sim travels between the three OSes. My heart is with the N9 and MeeGo, and it's safe to say I'm very excited about getting my Jolla phone. But I have certainly not turned my back on my N9. My usage has just changed a bit, and sometimes the N9 can't do what I need it to do. But I still love it, and I would never sell it.
    BTW, is "torchered" a play-on-words, or did you actually mean tortured?

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