Fresh off its Microsoft divorce, Nokia’s first Android tablet has arrived

Reports of Nokia’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

“They couldn’t be more wrong,” said the company’s head of product Sebastian Nystrom, during a brief presentation at Slush 2014. To prove it, he revealed the Nokia N1, a new Android tablet running Nokia’s own Z Launcher user interface.

That’s right, now it’s free of Windows Phone and any constraints placed on it by Microsoft over the past few years, Nokia has committed to Google’s operating system, something many said it should have done in 2010.

The N1 was described as the “start of something new” for Nokia. Calling the tablet “balanced and detailed,” Nystrom quickly ran through the highlights. Made from a single piece of aluminum, it measures 6.9mm thick and weighs 318 grams. The LED backlit, IPS display is 7.9-inches, and has a 2,048 × 1,536 pixel resolution, while a 2.3GHz, 64-bit Intel Z3580 quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM lives inside.

An 8-megapixel camera is fitted to the rear, and a 5-megapixel camera to the front. The 32GB internal storage space can be increased using a MicroSD card, plus the tablet has Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and the new Type-C reversible micro USB connector. It’ll be produced in two colors, Natural Aluminum and Lava Gray, and will retail for $250. You’ll notice there’s no branding on the N1 tablet yet. Nokia says a partner company will build the slate, suggesting it may not wear the Nokia name at all.

The tablet runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, making it only the second tablet to be announced with the new OS, with Nokia’s Z Launcher user interface over the top. The Z Launcher adapts to the way it’s used, and over time predicts which apps it should prominently display, while searching for installed apps or other content works by drawing a letter on the screen. Android smartphone owners can try out the Z Launcher now. It’s available for free through the Google Play store.

Prior to revealing the N1, Nystrom spoke about new beginnings at the company, questioning whether Nokia had a place in consumer technology at all. “At heart,” he said, “We are about bringing the magic of technology to real people. We have a larger purpose to make the sophisticated simple.” Nokia is about “great tech, great engineering, great design, and products that make things better for everyone,” claimed Nystrom, who finished by saying, “People need better products, and we design those that make a difference.”

Nokia will put the N1 tablet on sale in China before the Chinese New Year, which is mid-February 2015, after which it will be available in Europe, Russia, and other selected markets. The U.S. wasn’t specifically mentioned, but we’ll keep you updated.

Related video: Nokia releases a tablet, everybody dubs it iPad Mini clone


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