N900 Is Nokia's First Linux Smartphone
The Nokia N900 boasts PC-like capabilities, with a 600MHz processor and an iPhone-size 3.5-inch touch display. Nokia hopes to attract developers to its OS, Maemo, which is based on Linux, much like Google's Android OS.Nokia has introduced a new top-tier contender in the smartphone market-the N900-which uses an open-source operating system.
The Nokia N900 is a robust phone that borrows from Nokia's flagship N97 in looks-with a 3.5-inch touch-sensitive, high-resolution widescreen that slides up on its long, or landscape, side to reveal a QWERTY keyboard-but in an Android-mad market, the N900 runs Maemo 5, an open-source OS that's also based on Linux.
Inside is an ARM Cortex-A8 600MHz processor with up to 1GB of application memory and Open GL ES 2.0 graphics acceleration. There's 32GB of integrated storage, and 48GB more can be added with a microSD card.
There's Wi-Fi and HSPA data 10/2.0M-bps connectivity and a Mozilla Web browser that offers full Flash 9.4 and AJAX support and behaves just like a computer browser. It measures 4.3 by 2.35 by 0.7 inches and weighs 6.4 ounces.
While the N97 is intended for enterprise users and tech-savvy consumers, the N900, Nokia spokesperson Joseph Gallo told eWEEK, is less of a mass-market device.
"This is a geek's device, it's for developers," said Gallo. "It's to get the developer community excited about Maemo. ... I hate to compare it to anything on the market because it's really nothing like anything on the market. It has computer-processing power."
The N900 can support multiple applications running at once. Adobe Flash 9.4 supports online videos and interactive apps; up to 10 e-mail accounts can be supported and easily set up; and there's what Nokia calls a "tag cloud user interface" for making the most of the photos taken with the device's 5-megapixel camera. A-GPS is included, there's an integrated FM transmitter and 3.5mm audio in and out, and TV out. Talk time is up to 5 hours on WCDMA and 9 hours on GSM.
Gallo described Maemo as complementary to Symbian, not a replacement.
"It's on a parallel track. Symbian is very mature. Maemo is new and breaking ground in some areas," said Gallo. He said third-party apps will be available for Maemo in the Ovi Store toward end of the year.
In a statement, Nokia Executive Vice President of Markets Anssi Vanjoki remarked, "The Nokia N900 shows where we are going with Maemo, and we'll continue to work with the community to push the software forward. What we have with Maemo is something that is fusing the power of the computer, the Internet and the mobile phone, and it is great to see that it is evolving in exciting ways."
Nokia has not yet announced which markets the N900 will first arrive in, but global availability is expected sometime in October. Its retail price is estimated at 500 EUR, or about $713.