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Nokia N900 official, uses Linux to 'kill' iPhone

updated 08:00 am EDT, Thu August 27, 2009

Nokia N900 Official

Nokia this morning 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, not Symbian. 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. Nokia 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.

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 800x480, 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.

Unlike the heavily delayed N97, the N900 will have a quick turnaround and should ship in October. Pricing in Europe will be similar to the N97's on launch at 500 Euros ($712). Nokia's specs betray plans to bring the N900 to T-Mobile in the US and show 3G support for the American carrier's 1,700MHz band as well as the needed 850MHz support for GSM and EDGE.

The N900 is a rare turnaround for Nokia, which is suspected of facing poor N97 sales since that phone's launch in June. It has been eager to provide numbers for sales of the cheaper 5800 XpressMusic but has been quiet regarding the higher-end phone. Its post-launch price is still about $630 for an unsubsidized version, and the handset has been regularly criticized for including an old processor as well as the poor suitability of Symbian S60 5th Edition for touch.

By Electronista Staff


  1. kdogg73

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Dec 2002



    ...has to be nuclear.

  1. imactheknife

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2003



    LOOK how thick it is...looks a little awkward to hold...oh well, good luck dethroning Rim and Apple....

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2008


    Batter up!

    It's the next in line to be the "iPhone killer".

    Amazing that the computer company, that all industry leaders stated had no business or expertise being in mobile phones, with a single phone at a single carrier is causing every one of these guys to redevelop their products to match the iPhone's features.

    Not saying the iPhone is the best...that's understandably subjective....but it's definitely the most influential phone on the market today.


  1. mrt2

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009


    Um.. WOW?

    I love my iPhone but this phone looks awesome... I want it! I'm not ditching my iPhone by any means but I'd definitely have this as my second phone if/when it comes to the states. I don't know if you guys have noticed but other companies are seeing what the iPhone and the flow style UI are doing and really taking it further into the user experience... Apple really needs to start catching up to the revolution that they themselves started... having static icons on your home screen just doesn't cut it anymore. This Nokia interface with multiple customizable home screens is something that Apple really needs to adopt and perfect... I don't know if any of you agree with me but the world will adopt the iPhone more and more only IF Apple really starts taking note of the way other devices are using Apples ideas and pushing them further into the user experience. Of special NOTE: Check out the MacBook Pro on the desk in the video... Apple Still Wins :)

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008


    Thats it?

    Packing on the feature list, while looking like a thick old mechanical slider keyboard phone!

  1. bleee

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2002


    N810 GSM Radio

    Whats interesting is that they didn't demo a single call in the YouTube video and this thing is supposed to be a phone first right??? I mean they didn't just leave that out.

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001



    but it's THICK. Was the slide-out keyboard really needed?

  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2005



    It doesn't seem to have multi-touch... That's why he had to use a circular motion to enlarge and shrink the webpage.

  1. Alfiejr

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2008


    Hit Wh*ring

    what is this "kill" BS in the headline? nobody at Nokia used that word, so who in fact is being quoted? no one of course. there is no legitimate reason to use it. Electronista really needs to clean up its ac - if you care about being respected.

    "copy" would have been the accurate word to use instead. and how good a copy no one knows yet. remember the Pre?

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    It has a keyboard...

    because tech-heads want keyboards. It's a simple as that. The theory is that almost nobody in this world would rather type on a screen instead of a keyboard. I've also heard stories of how no businesses want smartphones that don't have a physical keyboard.

    Truthfully, every time a tech-head sees a slideout keyboard, he starts to go all weepy. There's something about seeing those keys that starts the adrenalin pumping. Real keys were supposed to make both the XPERIA X1 and the Palm Pre a raging success even though they both fell a bit short of expectations.

    For a tech-head, the more things you can jam on a pocket device the better it automatically makes it. You see all those open windows on the N900. When a tech-head sees that sort of multitasking, he's ready to j***. Think of how many things he can do at one time. Freakin' awesome, that Linux.

    So now the N900 has every single piece of hardware that is better than what the iPhone has and so Nokia and all tech-heads will swear to their mothers that this device will just crush iPhone sales and Apple within months. Guess what? 99% of the iPhone users won't even notice it exists and iPhone sales will go on unimpeded. If anything, iPhone sales will pick up going well into the first quarter and Nokia will continue to lose smartphone share.

    Never have a tech-head build a smartphone and expect it to sell. Most non-tech people just don't give a c*** about that stuff. They just want something that's easy to use and have fun with. The N900 is a tech-head's dream and a non-tech's nightmare.

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