updated 08:35 am EST, Tue November 10, 2009
Nokia's first Maemo phone now ready
Nokia on Tuesday said it has started shipping the N900, its new flagship. The crossover between its Internet tablets and media smartphones is the company's first phone to use Maemo Linux instead of Symbian and is better-suited to modern computing: it has both a full Mozilla-based browser with Flash but basic multi-touch and multitasking that can support many simultaneous apps open. Helping this is along are a fast ARM Cortex-A8 processor and 256MB of RAM that closely resemble the hardware in the iPhone 3GS.
The touchscreen QWERTY slider gets some of Nokia's best features with 10Mbps 3G on networks that support it, a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus, flash and geotagging, GPS and Wi-Fi. It has 32GB of permanent storage already onboard but can climb to at least 48GB total by adding a 16GB microSDHC card.
Nokia says the phone will initially ship to Europe, the Middle East, North America and Russia. Which North American carriers will use it aren't identified by name, though it's well known that the phone has the 1,700MHz 3G band needed by T-Mobile USA.
The N900 is a critical phone for Nokia, which has seen stale market share as both a poor global economy and new competitors like the iPhone have eaten away at its once secure position, particularly in smartphones. The N97 the N900 potentially replaces has been mildly popular but has also been criticized for its slow processor and at times awkward interface. A Europe-centric focus has also hurt Nokia's status in the US as few of its high-end phones ever ship attached to carriers and often have inherently limited sales.
Read our N900 hands-on for an early look at the phone, which promises to be a significant improvement over the N97 and Nokia's best challenge to Apple.