Nokia recently launched a new class of smartphone as its flagship. The promised N900 is a crossover between smartphones and Nokia’s Internet tablets, and makes its biggest break in its change of operating system: although still a phone, the handset runs Nokia’s latest Linux variant platform, not Symbian. Symbian OS lately seems like incapable to support a heavy duty computer application on phone.
Maemo is mostly based on open source code, and has been developed by Maemo Devices within Nokia in collaboration with many open source projects such as the Linux kernel, Debian, and GNOME. For Nokia N900, Maemo 5 renders it one of the first smartphones to have true PC-like multitasking and not only lets it run “dozens” of app windows at once but gives it a simple, large dashboard for switching and closing apps.
The Maemo update also brings an overall more touch-friendly interface and a customizable home screen that can mix app icons with shortcuts and widgets. At the same time, they also claims full support for Flash, albeit for the older 9.4, and has a new touch-friendly media player as well as similar apps.
Maemo supports an 800×480 display resolution, so many web pages can be viewed without horizontal scrolling. It can automatically connect to known wireless networks and download RSS feeds and email and disconnect automatically without user intervention.
In hardware, Nokia makes clear the N900’s role as an effective replacement for the N97 and the company’s answer to the iPhone 3GS. The QWERTY slider design has the same 600MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor as the Apple smartphone and a faster graphics core that, again like Apple, supports OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics features. GPS and Wi-Fi are similarly onboard. However, the N900 brings much more app memory at up to 1GB (256MB actual RAM), full HSPA-based 3G at up to 10Mbps down and 2Mbps up, and a much sharper 800×480, 3.5-inch touchscreen. The 5-megapixel camera and 32GB of storage are also carried over from the N97, but a microSDHC slot lets users add at least another 16GB with today’s cards.