Nokia N97 is a high-end smartphone part of the Nseries line from Nokia, announced on 2 December 2008 and released in June 2009 as the successor of the Nokia N96. The N97 is Nokia's second S60-based touchscreen phone, after the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. It features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The N97 runs on Symbian v9.4 (Symbian^1/S60 5th Edition). Its design was mostly based on that of the Nokia N79. A smaller 'mini' variant was later released.
|Compatible networks||HSDPA (3.5G), Quad band GSM / GPRS / EDGE GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900|
|Availability by region||9 June 2009|
Nokia N79 (for N97 Mini)
Nokia C6-00 (for N97 Mini)
Nokia 808 PureView
Nokia Lumia 920/1020
|Related||Nokia N86 8MP|
|Form factor||Tilt slider|
|Dimensions||117.2 × 55.3 × 15.9* mm|
*18.25 mm at camera area for original (113 x 52.5 x 14.2 mm for mini)
|Mass||150 g for original (138 g for mini)|
|Operating system||Symbian 9.4 with Nokia S60 Fifth Edition UI. Current firmware 22.0.110 (RM-505) / 22.1.112 (RM-506) / 22.2.110 (RM-507)|
|CPU||Single CPU, 434 MHz ARM11|
|Memory||128 MB SDRAM|
|Storage||32 GB on-board (about 29.8 GB user available) for original, (8 GB for mini)|
|Removable storage||microSD 16 GB max (16 GB Max MicroSDHC available in 2009)|
|Battery||BP-4L (1500 mAh, Li-polymer) for original, (BL-4D 3.7 V 1200 mAh for mini)|
|Data inputs||QWERTY keyboard, resistive touchscreen, proximity and ambient light sensors, accelerometer, digital compass|
|Display||640×360 px (16:9 aspect ratio), 3.5 in for original (3.2 in for mini), sliding tilt TFT LCD display, up to 16.7 million colours|
|Rear camera||5.0 megapixels|
f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Tessar lens
|Connectivity||WLAN 802.11b/g, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 2.0, TV-out (PAL/NTSC), FM transmitter only for original|
|Hearing aid compatibility||M3|
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Being Nokia's flagship and at a time when touchscreen devices were becoming increasingly prevalent, the N97 was highly anticipated. Despite good sales it is considered to have been a "disaster" on the hardware and software sides and is thought to have contributed to Nokia's decline. A Nokia executive admitted in 2010 that the N97 was a "regrettable failure".
The Nokia N97 was released in US flagship stores on 9 June 2009, and on 26 June 2009 was released worldwide. In September 2009, two million N97 handsets had been reportedly sold in the three months following release.
The N97 shipped with trial versions of Quick Office, Adobe Reader, Boingo, Joikuspot, Ovi Maps, and Ovi store.
The initial software had mixed reception, prompting the release of new firmware in October 2009. Nokia released the new firmware with kinetic scrolling for the N97 to address the major issues present in the firmware the device launched with.
Informal tests have shown that the battery can last nearly two days with regular use of the phone's various features for the original N97. Nokia quoted the following claimed operating times
- Talk time: Up to 6.0 hours (3G), 9.5 hours (GSM)
- Standby time: Up to 17 days (3G), 18 days (GSM)
- Video playback: Up to 4.5 hours (offline mode)
- Video recording: Up to 3.6 hours (offline mode)
- Music playback: Up to 40 hours (offline mode)
Common criticisms of the original N97 were the relative lack of RAM and available storage. With only around 50 MB of free RAM available after boot, the phone can become sluggish and close programs in order to conserve memory. Many first party applications also will only install on the root partition and with around 50 MB of free space, this is used quickly as it is also where temporary OS files are placed. This issue was resolved in the N97 mini as the user often has over 250 MB of free space on the fixed storage. A memory mapping alteration from firmware version 20 allowed applications to use less RAM and free it up better, helping to ease the strain of a lower amount of free RAM to the end-user.
Anssi Vanjoki, EVP of Markets at Nokia, admitted that quality control in software has been an issue for this device, saying "it has been a tremendous disappointment in terms of the experience quality for the consumers", though, according to Vanjoki, later repaired by firmware updates.
Steve Litchfield of All About Symbian in a 2011 blog post wrote: "The N97 really was the device that should have ruled the world - it had, almost literally, everything. And yet it became the one device that Nokia had to (literally) apologise for, publicly. The one device that became a millstone around its neck."
Nokia has acknowledged that on many devices, the cover and the lens were mounted too close causing scratches from dust and debris. On later units, Nokia reportedly fixed this issue.
Others with the original N97 had speed problems with the built in GPS lock. These phones too easily lose track of the current location, making the free turn by turn navigation software provided by Nokia unusable. Users can have both the lens cover and GPS issues fixed under warranty at an official Nokia service centre.
Despite most Nokia phones having great signal reception, the Nokia N97 did not follow that same tradition. It had very poor overall signal strength, even in comparison to other phones placed side by side to the N97 that were connected to the same network.
The user interface of the S60 5th edition software platform, built on top of Symbian OS 9.4, has been criticized by the site TechRadar as inconsistent because menu items require two taps to be activated. In 2010 Nokia officially apologized for the number of customers who had experienced issues with the N97 and the buggy software. This led to a large number of potential customers choosing brands other than Nokia during this time period.
Nokia N97 MiniEdit
The N97 Mini is a downsized version of the N97 and has been available since October 2009. The N97 Mini downsized some features of the original N97, such as 8 GB of storage memory, 3.2-inch (81 mm) touchscreen, and a shorter battery life. It uses the 2.0 Nokia N97 software by default. There has also been some redesign in the keypad. First, the big D-pad on the left side has been replaced by four arrow keys on the right side. Also there is more space between each keys and the keys are a little bit higher giving a much better feel when typing.
Some major differences are listed in the following table.
|Original N97||N97 mini|
|Device Size||117.2 mm × 55.3 mm × 15.9 mm
4.61 in × 2.18 in × 0.63 in
|113 mm × 52.5 mm × 14.2 mm|
4.45 in × 2.07 in × 0.56 in
|Volume||88 cc (5.4 cu in)||75 cc (4.6 cu in)|
|Weight||150 g (5.3 oz)||138 g (4.9 oz)|
|LCD size (640×360 px)||3.5 inches (89 mm)||3.2 inches (81 mm)|
|inbuilt mass Storage Memory||32 GB||8 GB|
|NAND Memory||256 MB (approx. 73 MB user available)||512 MB (approx. 277 MB user available)|
|FM transmitter||Available||Not available|
|Battery model||BP-4L 3.7 V 1500 mAh||BL-4D 3.7 V 1200 mAh|
|GSM Talk Time up to||9.5 hours||7.1 hours|
|WCDMA Talk Time up to||6.0 hours||4.0 hours|
|GSM Standby Time up to||18 days||13 days|
|WCDMA Standby Time up to||17 days||13 days|
|Web Browser for S60 version after firmware update||lower than 7.3||7.3|
A limited edition called the "N97 mini Raoul Limited Edition" has been released in relation with fashion house FJ Benjamin and the Raoul brand. It also features the new Fashion Asia widget and went on sale in late October 2009 in Malaysia and Singapore.
The user interface of the S60 5th edition software platform, built on top of Symbian OS 9.4, has been criticized by the site TechRadar as inconsistent because menu items require two taps to be activated.
There are three phones considered as successors to the N97. Firstly is the N8, as it became the new multimedia flagship for 2010. Also is the C6, which had a similar sliding-out QWERTY keyboard - however since the C6 uses the same specifications, the Maemo-powered N900, also featuring the keyboard, yet considerably better specifications has been considered the successor.
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Media related to Nokia N97 at Wikimedia Commons