Nokia finally ships N9, with no fanfare

The phone that, in its wildest dreams, would have brought Nokia back to the forefront of the mobile race, is finally ready to be shipped.

But it won’t be making its way to the US or the UK, and even where it does launch it is not expected to drive significant sales.

The phone will debut in China and Russia, where the list price is to be around $650, putting it in line with many other high-end smartphones in the region.

And in fact, in many ways it fits right in with those smartphones. It has 16 GB of internal storage, a 3.9-inch AMOLED touchscreen, access to high-speed mobile Internet, and an 8-megapixel camera.

The most noteworthy feature, though, is the software that powers the phone. The N9 is the first – and it will be the only – smartphone to run on Meego, an operating system developed by Nokia as a last-ditch replacement effort for its legacy OS Symbian.

The phone is not shipping in the US or UK because Nokia is essentially a dead entity in those territories. In Russia and China, it is still managing to stay afloat.

The manufacturer hopes to make a comeback throughout the world when its partnership with Microsoft finally kicks in. Windows Phone-powered Nokia handsets are expected to arrive in the next few months.

Nokia has won countless awards for design and manufacturing innovation, but its proprietary software fell behind the times and crippled the company. With its hardware prowess still in tact, the company hopes it can regain traction with the help of Windows Phone.