The device, which runs the Linux-based Maemo operating system, features a 3.5in touch-screen, slide-out Qwerty keyboard, fast web browsing and access to Nokia’s online app store, Ovi. Nokia said the N900 was designed to bring the desktop computing experience to mobile devices.
It has a powerful ARM Cortex-A8 processor and 1GB of dedicated application memory, which enables it to handle multiple apps simultaneously. It pulls in contacts from a variety of social networking sites, such as Facebook, and “threads” conversations by person, regardless of whether communication took place via email, text messages, chat service or through Facebook. The device boasts 32GB of storage, and can be expanded to 48GB using a microSD card.
Nokia dominates the mobile phone market, accounting for 40 per cent of all handsets sold worldwide. But it is wary of losing ground to the likes of Apple and Research in Motion, which makes the BlackBerry.
“The Nokia N900 has generated a lot of interest since its public launch in August, which has been reflected in the device pre-orders,” said José-Luis Martinez, a vice president with Nokia. “What’s exciting is the Maemo software, which takes its cues from the desktop computer and offers a full browsing experience like no other handset.”
The N900 will be available free on some networks, depending on contract and tariff, while a SIM-free device will set users back around £500.
Technology experts say the N900’s arrival will be crucial for the future growth of the Finnish mobile phone giant. Nokia is expected to use its Maemo platform to power an increasing number of devices in order to meet the growing needs of consumers to remain connected to the internet and their social networks at all times.
“Maemo will deliver the next generation of ‘computer-like’ experiences,” says Geoff Blaber, an analyst with CCS Insight. “The emphasis on rich visuals and multitasking is key. Multitasking will become increasingly important in a world where the phone is being used to access multiple functions, applications and services. It’s a challenge that Apple faces with the iPhone.”