We've been hearing about Nokia's next N-Series range-topped the N9 for a while now, and the Finnish phone giant's MeeGo OS developed alongside Intel for even longer. Which means we're doubly pleased to see strong signs that the N9 will be on display at the Nokia stand at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month – especially after hopes of a surprise appearance at CES proved to be unfounded.
Josué Giménez, of Spanish mobile site Nokia Mobile Blog, sparked off the latest round of debate when he tweeted: “OK guys, I repeat the the message for you, the Nokia #N9 will be announced in the MWC.”
Even if Giménez is just speculating, we'd be very surprised if the N9 wasn't present at the Barcelona showpiece. After all, the previous two Nokia flagships – the Nokia N8 and the Nokia N97 – were both on show at MWC, and the N9's launch before or around mid-year is being taken as a given.
So why is the Nokia N9 such a big deal? In a word, MeeGo. With the current top-end N8 running the Symbian 3 platform as MeeGo was still in development when it was launched, the N9 sees a chance for Nokia to take a major step forward with its range-topping device and renew its challenge at the smartphone top table.
It may not be a dual-core superphone like the Tegra 2 offerings launched at CES, but the 1.2GHz Snapdragon chip should deliver plenty of punch, and a huge 4.3in screen and the excellent 12-megapixel camera carried forward from the N8 should also be highlights.
It's certain to be a side-sliding QWERTY affair in keeping with its predecessors, but beyond that the spec sheet remains up in the air. Some rumours speak of 4G LTE capability, but that rumours seems to be rolled out with every high-end smartphone at present.
Mobile World Congress runs from February 14 to 17.