The N1, revealed on Tuesday, is the Finnish firm's first piece of hardware since it sold its phone business to Microsoft and comes completely out of the blue.
Nokia has been teasing a new product for several days, but very few would have guessed that the product in question would be an Android-powered premium 7.9-inch tablet, and that's exactly what it is.
"We are pleased to bring the Nokia brand back into consumers' hands with the N1 Android tablet, and to help make sophisticated technologies simple," said Sebastian Nyström, Head of Products at Nokia Technologies, who announced the N1 at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki. "The N1 has a delightfully intuitive interface and an industrial design to match it. This is a great product for Nokia fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet."
In terms of design and appearance, it couldn't be any more different from the Nokia devices of old. Gone are the colorful polycarbonate plastic shells of old along with the Windows Phone operating system, to be replaced by an aluminum body and something called the Z Launcher.
A clever ‘skin' that sits on top of the latest version of the Android operating system (Lollipop) and gets to know the tablet's user, Z Launcher can automatically classify and offer apps based on location, time of day and routine. And it simplifies searching too.
As well as clever software touches and top-notch external materials, behind the HD the internal components are just as impressive. There's an Intel 64-bit processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, stereo speakers, plus a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and selfies. The rear-facing camera boasts 8 megapixels and auto focus and the device weighs in at 318g.
Although announced just in time for the holiday season, the N1 won't actually be going on sale until February next year, when it will cost $250. Nokia plans to roll the tablet out to China first and then to Russia, with other countries to be announced at a later date.