Hard on the heels of its Windows-based netbook, Nokia today launched a Linux-based touch-screen phone handset with full qwerty keyboard, the N900.
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The handset uses Maemo software, which Nokia developed with Intel, to deliver a PC-like multitasking experience on a handset-sized device.
The Nokia N900 has evolved from Nokia's previous generation of internet tablets. The new Maemo 5 software lets users have dozens of application windows open and running simultaneously while taking full advantage of the cellular features, touch screen and qwerty keyboard.
"With Linux software, Mozilla-based browser technology and now cellular connectivity, the Nokia N900 delivers a powerful mobile experience," says Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia's executive vice president for markets.
Nokia promised to work with the Maemo community to push the software forward. But it said Maemo complemented the Symbian platform that drives Nokia's smartphones.
"Maemo enables Nokia to deliver new mobile computing experiences based on open-source technology that has strong ties with desktop platforms," says Jonathan Arber, IDC senior research analyst in consumer mobile.
The Nokia N900 uses an ARM Cortex-A8 processor, has up to 1GB of application memory, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a high-resolution WVGA 3.5 inch touch screen, OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics acceleration and fast internet connectivity with 10/2 HSPA and WLAN protocols.
The Nokia N900 has 32GB of storage, which is expandable up to 48GB via a microSD card. It uses the 5MP camera and Carl Zeiss optics from the N95 smartphone with Maemo software and a new tag cloud user interface.
The N900 supports a Mozilla browser for web surfing and Adobe Flash 9.4 for online videos, so that websites look the way they would on any computer. Maemo software updates automatically over the internet.
All running content is available through the dashboard. The panoramic homescreen can be personalised with shortcuts, widgets and applications.
Setting up email is quick and the Nokia Messaging service offers up to 10 personal email accounts. Text message or IM exchanges are shown in one view and all conversations are organised as separate windows.
The Nokia N900 will be available in select markets from October 2009 with an estimated retail price of €500 excluding sales taxes and subsidies.
The Nokia N900 will be shown at Nokia World, Stuttgart, on September 2.