Last Week we had the chance to talk to Mr Marko Athisaari , Vice President Nokia Design and the man who created Nokia N9, among many other things Marko talks about the the beauty of N9 and many challenges he has faced when designing the N9.
The interview was conducted by myself ,Farhan , Mr Yasir from Daily Times and Mr Khurram from Express Tribune and here is a brief transcript of the interview , we are in the process of uploading the video which will be done soon.How many days did it took for Nokia to design the N9?Marko’s answer was he joined Nokia 2 years ago when his company was taken over by Nokia , so brings fresh outsider perspective and for his team it took around year and a half to design the N9Why choose the vibrant color scheme of CMK colors ?Marko answer was that they want to bring simplicity to the design, by keeping it eye pleasing but also organic something which brings sparkle to the eye.Why choose Poly Carbonate as the material instead of metal as in N8?Marko’s answer was partially it’s for design , as they cannot make the same organic design with metal, beside the number of anteenas in N9 does not make use of metal body feasible due to drop of signals ( Apple Anteena Gate ) so poly carbonate was the perfect choice. However most of the action is the not which material Nokia has choosen but in the over all experience for the users.How protective is the Poly Carbonate bodyIt’s strong , ( our words – beside with color to the core the scratches are virtually non exsitant)Why Not Add HDMI to N9 like in N8?Marko’s reply was It was a question of balancing features , Nokia wants to give people a whole product story with all perfectly allingned features.As mentioned in the presentation is the N9’s camera to be used primarily for Note taking ?It’s more of a end to end experience , we want to tell people that note taking is a possibility and many people are using the camera as a note taking device by taking pictures . Our first goal was to make it fast and deliver optimum expeirnece as we have achieved in N8Why Nokia opted for Micro SIM in N9?Marko’s reply to us was that regionally ( Middle East ) we have a better understading that many operators are now offering micro SIM and Nokia is bit ahead of the curve so as they adopt it further, soon it will become main stream.Is Nokia worried about counterfeit copies of N9?Marko reply was that Nokia always encourage people to buy from local authorized distributors however making something like N9 is not an easy task and he has already seen first copies of the phone in China however they have 4 keys on the main screen , split marks and without Swipe , they may look like N9 but the experience is not there.He further added that his team has worked on how to improve the user experience and as the designer they wanted so many things to be further added but user experience was paramount basis of design.Why not Nokia moved to Android as many others like Samsung and HTC?Marko’s answer was that the same questions is in many people’s mind but Nokia has made strategic choice to join hands with Microsoft for Windows Phone 7 , further more , the new Symbian Belle is here with an all new user experience with Android Nokia does not think they can differentiate and make something better.What are Nokia’s plans one year or more down the road?Marko’s answer was right now Nokia is setting new rules of the game with the pattern of multiple home screens, snappy response from the phone and brining SWIPE to multiple products . With Windows Phone Mango ,beautiful live tiles and panoramic view , the next year and a half is all about user experience and is based on where Nokia stands in the industry.Will we see SWIPE in other products like WP7 phones?Marko’s answer was That shows certain assumptions , I also want to see in much cheaper devices. the Windows Mobile platform will evolve in the likes of Windows 8Do you plans to introduce regional languages in Nokia N9?Yes it’s core to Nokia and already Arabic is in testing , beside Nokia is also brining multiple keyboard on the same screen which can be changed by a sliding them back and forth so using multiple languages in the same text is much easeier.What is with Nokia N9 series and FM Transmitter , why it’s left out to 3rd party developers to develop software for it when the capability is already built-in ?Marko’s answer was that he don’t have a good answer for that , their goal was more focused on creating a tight pattern in user interface so feature wise competitiveness was not their target , their aim was to create a device with a WOW factor making people to think that that’s the way things should always have been and bring out a natural way to interact. People who have used the prototypes had a hard time shifting back to their old home button based touch screen phones.Intel’s CEO said that Nokia is responsible for delaying MeeGO to the market. – the question was later rephrased to has Nokia delayed the launch of N9 ?Marko’s answer was that he cannot comment on what other say, but they were planning to bring out the device when it was perfect.What challenges Nokia had in designing N9 ?Marko’s answer was that there were many challenges and the main was user prespective , in the early phases of design when people were told about it, their thinking was that N9 is not a smart phone as it does not have live widgets , now that was one type of user interface people associate smart phones with , our challenge was to make room in people’s mind that there are better designs and Nokia immediately had the proto devices in hand to show that they are not done innovating and evolving the phone.
Here our time for the interview ends, our thoughts were that in form of N9, Nokia does has a winner in hand in terms of design and User Interface , the time , passion and effort which Nokia and Mr Marko’s team has put on the device is well worth it and we want to see it’s features in other especially WP7 devices too.
If you have any questions about N9 from Marko do let us know in comments and we will try our best to get the queries answered.