Nokia this morning launched a new class of smart-phone as its flagship. The promised Nokia N900 is a crossover between smart-phones 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 Zambian.
MAEMON 5 renders it one of the first smart-phones 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 MAEMON 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 Nokia N99 and the company’s answer to the IPHONE 3GS. The QWERTY slider design has the same 600MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor as the Apple smart-phone 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, full HSPA-based 3G at up to 10Mbps down and 2Mbps up, and a much sharper 800×480, 3.5-inch touch-screen.
The 5-megapixel camera and 32GB of storage are also carried over from the N97, but a micro-SDHC 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. 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 Nokia N97 sales since that phone’s launch in June. It has been eager to provide numbers for sales of the cheaper 5800 Xpress Music 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 Simian S60 5th Edition for touch. Two open platforms, of course, creating a vortex of pure, unadulterated openness the likes of which the world has never seen.
Hacking is par for the course with Nokia’s N900, so it comes as no surprise to see that a motivated individual has managed to get his unit set up in a trick dual-boot configuration with MAEMON on internal storage and Android on a separate partition loaded from the micro-SD card. He says it’s “proof of concept” for the moment-but to steal his words, “its real and it could be spectacular.” We couldn’t agree more, and as much as Nokia loves its own code, we can’t help but think this precisely the sort of tinkering the N900 was made for. Check video of the magical boot after the break. Though its just a proof of concept for now, yet this clip shows the hack-friendly Nokia N900 dual-booting MAEMON and Android. It’s only a taste, but as the dual-booster Brandon says, “Its real and it could be spectacular.”