Nokia Puts the Internet in Your Pocket with Linux-based N900

Nokia N900
Nokia N900


All Nokia‘s promises of betting heavily on the Maemo 5 Linux-based operating system for its high-end communication devices seem to be coming true: today the company announced its new N900 Internet device, promising a desktop-grade Internet experience that fits in your pocket—or in your purse. The N900 aims to build on Nokia’s previous generations of Internet Tablet devices by leveraging Linux technology to bring multitasking, OpenGL graphics, high-speed mobile broadband, Mozilla-based browser technology, and other power-user capabilities to portable devices. Oh, and it’ll even make phone calls.

“The Nokia N900 shows where we are going with Maemo and we’ll continue to work with the community to push the software forward,” said Nokia executive VP Anssi Vanjoki, in a statement. “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 is adamant that the Linux-based Maemo is intended to complement the company’s existing smartphone line based on the Symbian OS…but it’s easy to see why gadget geeks and power users might crave the N900. The N900 offers a high-resolution 800 by 480-pixel WVGA touch screen display, an integrated slide-out QWERTY keypad, and a 5 megapixel video-capable camera with Carl Zeiss optics and a dual LED flash. Under the lid, the N900 sports an ARM Cortex-A8 processor and offers up to 1 GB of application memory plus 32 GB of storage—expandable to 48 GB via a microSD card. The N900 offers a Mozilla-based Web browser for a desktop-like browsing experience—online videos work, and the N900 supports Adobe Flash 9.4—and (unlike, say, the iPhone) the N900 can keep lots of applications running at the same time, so switching between tasks is simple and accessing content is as simple as navigating through the completely customizable dashboard.

The N900 also packs assisted GPS, an FM transmitter for pushing tunes to (say) an in-vehicle audio system, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking, and quad-band GSM/EDGE and 900/1700/2100MHz UMTS/HSPA connectivity.

Nokia says the N900 will be available in selected markets beginning in October 2009 at a suggested price of €500, excluding taxes and subsidies, and the company will be showing it off next week at Nokia World 09 in Stuttgart, Germany. There’s no official word on whether (or when) the N900 might make it to the United States, but the UMTS support in the specs would seem to indicate Nokia already has its eye on bringing the N900 across the pond.

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