Nokia N1 is the company’s swanky $249 Android Lollipop tablet

“They say Nokia is dead. They say Nokia is no more. They even say rest in peace Nokia. Look, I say they couldn’t be more wrong.”

That was what Sebastian Nyström, Head of Product Business at Nokia Technologies, had to say about those bad-mouthing his company.

Yesterday on its Facebook account, the company unveiled a strange looking black box with the caption “Guess what? We’re up to something.” Apple levels of coyness displayed there.

Nevertheless, what looks strangely like a first generation Apple TV box could well hold the future of the company. Today at SLUSH 2014, the world got a glimpse inside Nokia’s box of tricks, courtesy of Nyström‘s slick and succinct presentation.

Nokia Z Launcher

First up, the company led with its custom Android-based Nokia Z Launcher just in time for Android Lollipop’s arrival. From today it’s officially available for everyone for free on the Google Play Store, which should delight those who enjoy tweaking Android home screens.

The best part about the launcher is “Scribble” which allows the user to quite literally scribble a letter onto the phone’s face, which calls up respective apps. It’s surprisingly brilliant. According to Nyström, “the Z launcher learns and adapts,” so based on when and where you use your applications, it can predict what applications you need at different times of day or locations.

But we knew this, and it wasn’t the star of the show.

Nokia N1 tablet

nokia n1 2

“The tablet that thinks ahead,” quipped Nyström wasn’t an Apple TV like box after all. Hilariously, the box is actually the Nokia N1’s packaging.

The Android tablet inside, according to Nyström is “deliberately designed to match the elegance of the [Z Launcher] interface,” and my it’s beautiful.

It looks like something Apple could’ve cooked up, but it’s purely Finnish.

It’s 6.9mm thin, with rounded edges and sleek sandblasted aluminium body weighing in at a comfortable 300g. The 7.9″ IPS 2048×1536 display is flanked by a 5MP front snapper, and an 8MP at the rear and slathered in Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It also has some gorgeous zero air-gap melding technology, which makes the entire front of the device a seamless affair.

It’ll be available in two colours — natural aluminium and lava grey.

Internally, there’s a 64-bit 2.3GHz Intel Atom Z3580 CPU at its heart, and it runs Android Lollipop with an optimised version of Z Launcher. You’ll have 2GB RAM to play around with, which should be more than enough (we hope.) We were expecting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 to be employed, but Nokia’s undoubtedly using the Intel’s fanless technology to better effect.

Read more: Intel’s fanless Core M CPU to power tablet hybrids of tomorrow

There’s also 32GB storage on tap, with the PowerVR G6430 GPU at service and an enormous 5300 mAh battery. With Android Lollipop’s battery management improvements, this thing should last quite a while on a single charge.

The N1 will also be one of the first device that can enjoy a reversible USB connector.

Better yet, this things touted to retail for around US$249. Competitive indeed!

Your move, Apple.

Updates to follow…

Andy Walker, former editor


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