Nokia: MeeGo 1.1 for N9 coming by year end, packed full of goodness [Updated!]

Nokia's been a little quiet on the MeeGo front since Nokia World last week. At a shady booth in the corner, a shiny white N9 was shown off running a newer version of MeeGo -- 1.1 -- but it wasn't entirely clear what was inside. Today, we sat down with Nokia and talked about the future of MeeGo, things that are coming and things that aren't.

Last week in our in-depth N9 review we praised the device, although it let us down in terms of speed. Especially in some applications, such as Facebook and Twitter. N9 owners and potential owners, rejoice! The 1.1 update delivers huge performance improvements, it seems like the random slow downs that plagued us have disappeared and the Facebook / Twitter applications are useful again. It might be time to ditch the web Facebook bookmark.

Notifications are a lot less vague now, too. Previously a green flag would show up in the notification tray, meaning there was some sort of notification. In 1.1, this has been revised and it now displays the specific icon for the notification; Email, chat, message, call, etc. They're also right aligned on the standby screen now, for those that are bugged by that sort of thing.

Music controls do now show up on the home screen, as advertised, but only when the music application is open. If it's closed, the lock screen goes back to a clock. As we noted in our review, Twitter photo posting was missing previously; this has now been added too.

Other small things include the ability to pinch-zoom the application cards to make them bigger or smaller, NFC tag support, OS-wide copy and paste, and a ton of bug fixes. When we were shown the device the performance increases were extremely clear, having lots of applications open no longer causes a problem, unlike the original release that would begin to lag pretty quickly at 4 or more applications open at the same time.

NFC tag support works brilliantly, in our demonstration it was a NFC-enabled business card. Holding it to the device allowed it to get all the data from the card, no prompts or silly pairing. It just works.

There's also even more in 1.1, but Nokia isn't willing to discuss it until closer to the release time. We'll have to sit on our fingers for now.

There was one disappointment, however. The front-facing camera support is still ​not here. You can't make video calls yet. No announcements on when it'll work, either, though Nokia tells us it's "coming." Peregrine promises that they'll support it soon though, so we're crossing our fingers.

The good news: MeeGo Harmattan 1.1 is just around the corner. In fact, Nokia says it'll definitely be out by the end of the year. Now, we know that's a vague estimate, but we were shown the update in action today and it's definitely done -- we wouldn't be surprised if we saw it in a matter of weeks. The update will be available for any N9, no matter the color. Oh, and the white N9 will be coming to market around the same time as the update, at least, that's what we're hearing from other sources.

Looking forward, Nokia says they plan to continue to support the N9 for the foreseeable future, and the company is already working on updates past 1.1. This is great news, and means that the N9 is still being actively worked on, despite it being shoved into a dark corner thanks to the Lumia range. Obviously, plans could change, but for now, Nokia is adamant that it'll continue supporting MeeGo as an "exploratory" market.

As a bonus, Nokia released a "Sports Tracker" application for the N9 today which is extremely feature rich, and is coming to their Windows Phone offerings during November, too. 

​Update: ​For clarity's sake, the update is Harmattan PR1.1 (as previously seen here). We've sourced this information ourselves, so you're hearing it first hand from Nokia. Also, we forgot to mention that full Swype support is coming in this update too. To enable swype, you just swipe across the keyboard to select a new layout.

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KingCrimson said,
The future is WP7, but they feel Meego has some short-term legs in Europe.

Strange. All the reviews I see say the N9 beats the Lumnia hands down.

We'll have to wait for the Lumnia 800 sales numbers (if Nokia releases them) before we know for certain if the WP7-Nokia partnership has failed.

Joey S said,

Strange. All the reviews I see say the N9 beats the Lumnia hands down.

We'll have to wait for the Lumnia 800 sales numbers (if Nokia releases them) before we know for certain if the WP7-Nokia partnership has failed.

No OEM or mobile provider releasing WP7 sales figures as not to embarrass Microsoft.

Joey S said,

Strange. All the reviews I see say the N9 beats the Lumnia hands down.

We'll have to wait for the Lumnia 800 sales numbers (if Nokia releases them) before we know for certain if the WP7-Nokia partnership has failed.

You are only saying that because you are an anti-MS troll rather than actually liking MeeGo.

Joey S said,

We'll have to wait for the Lumnia 800 sales numbers (if Nokia releases them) before we know for certain if the WP7-Nokia partnership has failed.

The partnership isn't going to fail due to a short-term failure of a couple of phones rushed to market - it's a long term partnership to build up the brand. And there's a lot of positive buzz around at the moment.

sam232 said,

You are only saying that because you are an anti-MS troll rather than actually liking MeeGo.


No, I just think Meego is superior platform. I'm not anti-MS. If Microsoft came up with a better platform that I liked, I'd recommend that too. However, what the N9 has proved, is that, Meego, when compared side by side with Windows Phone, is much nicer to use.

You can't base yourself on the first two WP7 of Nokia. They said, its only the beginning.

Joey S said,

Strange. All the reviews I see say the N9 beats the Lumnia hands down.

We'll have to wait for the Lumnia 800 sales numbers (if Nokia releases them) before we know for certain if the WP7-Nokia partnership has failed.

htcz said,
There needs to be a QWERTY keyboard version like originally envisioned....

Why? I have the N9 and the N950, guess which device I like more? Even on the N950, I rarely use the hardware keyboard.

I think you're absolutely right - I have a N9 64GB in my hands, and it shows firmware version 1.2 Harmattan. Could fw be hw version dependent?

epple said,
Am I missing something? Isn't the current version 1.2?

because the article is wrong. but i cant really find many more sources on this... most of them refer to this as PR 1.1

If N9 sales surpass Lumia 800, I think Nokia should keep the duality of brands. Silly, but they already do it with Symbion/WP7

AnthoWin said,
If N9 sales surpass Lumia 800, I think Nokia should keep the duality of brands. Silly, but they already do it with Symbion/WP7

Aye, but Symbian and WP7 aren't competing in the same market at the moment. WP7 is for their more top end devices, and Symbian is being kept for their much cheaper devices - somewhere WP7's reach doesn't extend yet.

~Johnny said,

Aye, but Symbian and WP7 aren't competing in the same market at the moment.


MeeGo and WP7 doesn't competite in the same market, too!

Compare the capabilities of the Lumina 800 and the N9 it is pretty clear that the N9 is a hi-end device for the top etch of the market while the WP7 device is rather a medium to low-end Smartphone. Something linke a S40 with additional software.

~Johnny said,

Aye, but Symbian and WP7 aren't competing in the same market at the moment. WP7 is for their more top end devices, and Symbian is being kept for their much cheaper devices - somewhere WP7's reach doesn't extend yet.

For the time being, Symbian will be kept for low/mid end devices. Nokia are already working on a new OS for the budget devices. Ironically it is Linux-based, like the N9's Meego Harmattan. It's called "Meltemi" .

The N9 Meego Harmattan OS will continue to be supported for a good few years yet. If you are wondering whether to get an N9, think how long you normally keep a smartphone. 4 years + ?? Meanwhile, you'll get support with firmware updates etc, and there is an enthusiastic community of developers making great apps out there. 100+ already and the device and OS have not been in the market for 2 months yet.

As for Nokia WP phones, they'll be better specced versions than the Lumia 800 out in 2012.

Meanwhile, I'm loving my Nokia N9 ! It's gorgeous and incredibly smooth to use. :-)

I hope in the update they fix the Exchang Server limitations. I run 4 exchange server email accounts. One is Gmail in Exchange and the other 3 in 2007/2010 Exchange Servers. The first account lets me sync contacts but the other accounts do not. Only sync for 2 weeks is not a good think and it doesn't let me sync all for which I have some older files I go back to reference from time to time and they won't sync but the last two weeks. They need a fix on this.

Google Voice needs to be a part of it. The QGV app stinks. I know it is a dead platform for some developers but I hope they make a better Google Voice App.

I really like the N9 phone but if the updates do not bring better MS Exchange support it will go back to the market and I will move to the Windows Based Lumia 800.

Nov. 6th comes the release of the Samsung Focus S. That might get my attention more than the Lumia 800. I will have to see.

If you don't need MS Exchange support like me the N9 is a great phone. The Maps for US takes forever to download. Very slow. Also the Wireless Signal goes up and down more than it should in the same location. Strange behavior.

mrmomoman said,
I hope in the update they fix the Exchang Server limitations. I run 4 exchange server email accounts. One is Gmail in Exchange and the other 3 in 2007/2010 Exchange Servers. The first account lets me sync contacts but the other accounts do not. Only sync for 2 weeks is not a good think and it doesn't let me sync all for which I have some older files I go back to reference from time to time and they won't sync but the last two weeks. They need a fix on this.

Google Voice needs to be a part of it. The QGV app stinks. I know it is a dead platform for some developers but I hope they make a better Google Voice App.

I really like the N9 phone but if the updates do not bring better MS Exchange support it will go back to the market and I will move to the Windows Based Lumia 800.

Nov. 6th comes the release of the Samsung Focus S. That might get my attention more than the Lumia 800. I will have to see.

If you don't need MS Exchange support like me the N9 is a great phone. The Maps for US takes forever to download. Very slow. Also the Wireless Signal goes up and down more than it should in the same location. Strange behavior.


MeeGo 1.1 includes major exchange fixes. I hope thats good enough news for you

Maps here in NZ worked better than any alternative I've ever used.

Your fair and balanced N9 review on October 29, '11 notwithstanding, Owen, I commend you, particularly, for your diligence in having Nokia demonstrate in this later interview, their real commitment to future support for the N9. Nokia's somewhat contradictory posture has caused me, and I'm sure others, to hesitate taking the plunge on this device. But thanks to your fine journalism, I'll be giving this a go. I look forward to your future reporting on the N9's evolution.
Terry(USA).

Thanks for digging-up this extra information Owen!
Can we subscribe to these comment threads, or are we auto-subscribed once we post?

Given your expertise in photography, Owen, how much of a compensation, if any, does the N9 camera's fixed minimum aperture of f2.2 provide for the absence of a Panorama feature? Thanks much.

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