The N9 is the world's first pure touchscreen phone. There are no front-facing buttons and the user interface is controlled entirely with touches and swipes.

It's a stylized, minimalistic device with a unibody design and a beautiful 3.9-inch curved glass display.

Nokia's N8 successor looks fantastic, but critics are already calling it "dead on arrival."

"Beautiful (and probably well-constructed) as it may be, I don't give a damn about it. Why? It runs Meego, not Mango," said Gizmodo's Adrian Covert, lamenting Nokia's decision to use the MeeGo operating system (OS) instead of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 (WP7) Mango OS.

Earlier this year Nokia announced it had entered a "broad strategic partnership" with Microsoft to use the WP7 platform as the primary smartphone operating system whil" also revealing that it was moving away from the Linux-based MeeGo OS, an operating system that Nokia once hailed as its "platform of the future."

The N9 is Nokia’s first MeeGo device - and possibly its last.

"As gorgeous as it is, I have a hard time believing that developers would pay much attention to the phone when there’s no guarantee that Nokia (or other manufacturers) will ever deliver another MeeGo device," said Venture Beat’s Devindra Hardawar.

"Intel, Nokia’s partner in crime for MeeGo, hasn’t had much success convincing developers to bring apps to MeeGo netbooks and tablets either."

Nokia is obviously keen to tout the phone's user interface advancements.

"We reinvented the home key with a simple gesture: a swipe from the edge of the screen. The experience sets a new bar for how natural technology can feel," said Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia's head of Design.

"All that’s needed to use the Nokia N9 is a simple gesture, a swipe of the finger," adds Nokia. "It is an intuitive way to use all the different features and functions. Whenever you are in an application, you just swipe from the edge of the screen to go back home."

Additional features include an 8 MP camera, NFC connectivity, Dolby Digital Plus sound and free voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation.

The N9 is earmarked for a 2011 release but no official date or prices have been announced. The first generation of Nokia’s WP7 devices are expected to start shipping by the end of the year.