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Nokia Releases Linux Handset 484

galaxy writes "Nokia releases their first Linux mobile handset, the N900 The handset is based on the latest release of Maemo, the Nokia mobile Linux platform, and includes e.g. GSM and 3G access (with HSPA, giving datarates of up to 10Mbps downlink and 2Mbps uplink on suitable networks), WLAN, Bluetooth, camera, assisted GPS and, most importantly, a touchscreen complemented by a hardware QWERTY under a slider. The beast is powered by an ARM Cortex-A8 processor at 600 MHz, has PowerVR SGX with OpenGL ES 2.0 support, 32GB internal memory etc."
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Nokia Releases Linux Handset

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  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:31AM (#29217543) Homepage

    The iPhone was a 'fail' for me for several reasons, but most of all:

    1) No real keyboard.
    (The N900 has a pull out keyboard)

    2) No support for Flash
    (The N900 has Flash support)

    3) No real multitasking
    (The N900 has multitasking)

    4) Skype
    (The N900 has Skype)

    Add the fact that this baby runs Linux, and I'm 100% sold. This has huge promise.

  • CDMA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:36AM (#29217641)
    *snooze* Wake me when there's a CDMA phone worth getting. I live in a place with next to zero GSM service and absolutely zero 'home' GSM service. AT&T won't even let me get an iPhone with a number local to anywhere in my own state, for instance.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:37AM (#29217649)
    Symbian (from the famed Psion PDAs of the early 90's) can't be expected to evolve into the kind of operating system that competes with these new "smartphones" which are really computers with phone capabilities - iPhone, Pre, Android-based phones. Symbian is more a device controller than an O/S. It was designed for devices with very limited resources which is no longer the case. I'm glad Nokia has recognized that and has chosen a more powerful computer O/S on which to base their platform. I have an iPhone 3Gs, but I'm very happy that Apple has some tough competition because even though I may stay with the iPhone, it will only get better faster as Apple responds to the competition. I'm also happy that those who don't want iPhones have some worthy devices to choose from . Now, what worries me is Palm because the Pre is off to a good start, but is Palm big enough to sustain competition with giants like Apple and Nokia?
  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:38AM (#29217677)

    supporting article: http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2009/02/nokia-to-finland-let-us-spy-here-or-were-going-elsewhere.ars [arstechnica.com]

    I don't trust nokia. why would you?

  • by shtrom ( 1251560 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:41AM (#29217727) Homepage

    The spec says "Music playback file formats: .wav, .mp3, .AAC, .eAAC, .wma, .m4a"

    Being Linux-based, I suppose it would not be too hard to hack it to support Ogg Vorbis. It's however rather annoying that such support is still not provided by default...

  • Re:how much is it? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by alen ( 225700 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:43AM (#29217761)

    much better camera and 16GB removable SD cards are supported in addition to the internal memory

    i have an iphone 3GS 32GB and if this thing is good in 2 years i'll trade my iphone for it. I like the iphone but it has enough problems for a competitor to come in and take market share.

    My BB Curve has much better battery life than my iphone when comparing push email
    Apple screwed up contacts importation and allows double and triple contact creation. RIM is better at this.
    Apple seems to have taken a cue from Microsoft and if you read the forums, the magic fix is to restore as a new phone. Just like reinstalling Windows.

    I like the iPhone mostly for it's flexibility. i have 150 apps on mine which take up over 1GB of space. with RIM's ancient OS it's impossible to do this. The Pre is still in beta but is looking very promising.

    even though I'm an MCSE, Microsoft is dead in the mobile space. I don't even think they care. They licensed Active Sync to Apple, Palm and Google but you can't access MS Exchange from most WinMo phones or the Zune.

  • Re:DO WANT (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:49AM (#29217851)

    Built by a corporation that supports wiretapping and sells wiretapping equipment to governments? Check.

  • by Bralkein ( 685733 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:54AM (#29217933)
    Yeah, it's a bit poo, I have all my music CDs ripped into ogg myself. However, it uses GStreamer so just install the proper plugins and away you go, I guess. This really looks like the phone I've been waiting for, I'll just wait for a few reviews to come out to see if there are any glaring faults, then my money is theirs :-)
  • by Exp315 ( 851386 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:58AM (#29217991)
    This is the long-awaited phone incarnation of the N800/N810 Linux/Maemo tablets. It's similar to the N810 in having the slide-out keyboard, built-in GPS, and micro-SD slot. I've been using the N800 for the last 2 years, and while I like it as in internet tablet, I'm not sure I would like it so much as a phone. Some reasons: - The tablet is cheap and not tied to a contract, so possible to forgive many faults - Tbe tablet has a bigger screen (4.3" vs. 3.5"), which makes it more practical for browsing and ebooks - Lots of Maemo Linux software available, but mostly amateurish/undocumented/90%-complete quality - User interface is not nearly as smooth as iPhone, particularly the web browser - Most programs can't rotate, designed for landscape mode only
  • Re:how much is it? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_crowbar ( 149535 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:05PM (#29218095)

    Low power FM transmitters are very common in the US. Many people use them to connect their MP3 player to their car's radio system. I'm guessing that is what this one is for. With 32GB (or 48GB) of storage you could use this instead of an iPod or other MP3 player.


  • Re:how much is it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Plug ( 14127 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:07PM (#29218115) Homepage

    N900 has a single-touch resistive touchscreen, compared to the iPhone's capactive, multitouch screen. The demo video shows an interesting single-touch zoom method on the N900 - draw a spiral, like winding a display closer or further away.

  • Re:how much is it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by root_42 ( 103434 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:11PM (#29218181) Homepage

    Actually the real things that set it apart from the 3GS are the following:

    * Expandable storage with up to 48 GB with external microSD card (vs nothing)
    * 800x480 resolution screen (vs 320x480)
    * Video playback file formats: .mp4, .avi, .wmv, .3gp; codecs: H.264, MPEG-4, Xvid, WMV, H.263 (vs. some Quicktime codecs & FLV, not sure which)
    * Removable battery

    The rest is basically the same, especially CPU and GPU wise. I am not sure about the virtual memory stuff. Might be interesting for multitasking applications, although I am not sure how well this works out on the Maemo platform.

    The iPhone has on the other side the advantage of a really slick interface and IMHO very good usability. We will definitely also buy one or two N900s for development, and so far I haven't seen one in real life. But I am looking forward to compare them to the iPhone in both performance as well as usability. Also I am looking forward to see what the SDK looks like, never worked with Maemo before.


  • UMA support? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by UID30 ( 176734 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:11PM (#29218189)
    Anybody know if this device has UMA support on it?

    Skype is not the win imo ... I'd rather just have my cell communicate directly to my carrier over my household broadband connection and not mess with an extra "skype" address to hand people for when I'm out of cell coverage area ... UMA is preferred since I don't need any special network hardware (other than a wireless access point) to support it.

    T-Mobile supports UMA pretty well ... I'm using it with my BB 8900 at the moment.
  • by fatphil ( 181876 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:18PM (#29218281) Homepage
    Vorbis is surrounded by IP FUD. All the guys with deep pockets are scared of it.

    However, gstreamer's plugin-based, so it should eventually be possible to find community support for the standard.
  • by RalphBNumbers ( 655475 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:34PM (#29218529)

    The product page says it has 256MB of physical RAM, and 1GB virtual...
    Using virtual memory on a phone's flash storage strikes me as questionable. There have to be reasons that the iPhone/Pre/Android don't do that.

    Isn't all the swapping going to wear out your flash pretty fast? And, assuming this thing only has one or two flash chips like most phones, and therefore can't bond a bunch of channels together with a fancy controller for speed like a SSD, isn't it going to be really slow?

    Do the previous Mameo devices do this? If so, how does it work.

  • OGG over FM? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by itomato ( 91092 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:39PM (#29218621)

    Since we have clarified that there is indeed an FM transmitter, and that OGG format is available, does this mean that I can now broadcast a Truly Free (TM) radio station of my own design to any listeners within 4 meters?

    Can we now, thanks to Nokia, create a new HAM radio scene, operating on Free (TM) Codecs over public wavelengths?

    The return of Slow-Scan, via 5MP Carl Zeiss (TM) optics and WLAN?

    I want to use OGG format for my audio, because I identify OGG and its apparent lack of mainstream support with all things underdog. The struggle is a significant component of my mission statement.

    Will the n900 support OGG Theora for encoding and streaming video directly from the device? Does this require specialized hardware?

  • Sync with Linux PIMs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by HigH5 ( 1242290 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:40PM (#29218639)
    If I could synchronize my PIM data from my Evolution, then I'm sold! I've been looking for seamless and headachless synchronization with Linux PIMs for years!
  • Re:CDMA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:43PM (#29218683)
    I should add that I am with Alltel and everyone here I know who isn't with them is with Verizon. All CDMA service. And I can place a call from anywhere in that vast empty area except for places where the terrain doesn't prevent it (which happens in the bottom of the Badlands [nodak.edu]). I can even use the Gmail and other apps on my BlackBerry from those areas.
  • Re:how much is it? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted&slashdot,org> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:46PM (#29218717)

    Hmm... what is thin "European" style you are speaking of. I don't know how it's in other European *countries*, but here in Germany, you got two options:
    Either you buy it without any contract or anything (like simlock and branding), and pay the full 500€, or you buy a plan for two years, and depending of the size of that, you will pay between 150€ ($213) and 1€ initially. With branding at the network providers themselves, without branding at independent (and usually cheaper) resellers, and simlock would be a rare surprise to see (perhaps on "prepaid with phone 'plans'")

    But if you wait some months, you usually get it for 50€ ($71) or less.

  • Re:how much is it? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hattig ( 47930 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:46PM (#29218725) Journal

    Shame you don't know what you're talking about.

    A-GPS == "integrated GPS with Assited [sic] GPS"

    I.e., it's GPS with Assistance, like the name suggests. Both devices are equivalent.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @01:05PM (#29218955)

    From the Nokia press release that showed how to get root access ( http://flors.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/software-freedom-lovers-here-comes-maemo-5/ [wordpress.com]):

    "If freedom is your concern then you donâ(TM)t need to âoeunlockâ or âoejailbreakâ Maemo 5. From installing an application to getting root access, itâ(TM)s you who decide. We trust you, and at the end itâ(TM)s your device. Nokia also trusts the open source community in general and the Maemo community particularly helping in getting casual users through the experience path. The N900 might just be a new and successful entry point for a new wave of open source users and developers."

  • Re:DO WANT (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 27, 2009 @02:59PM (#29220803)

    This is neither a BB nor an iPhone killer.
    Have you seen the N900? No. Have you tried the N900? No. I have, and it wipes the floor with the iPhone. Unlike the iPhone, it works properly, has a huge variety of free applications, and costs significantly less than the iPhone...
    There's no comparison.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling