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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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  • specs are better than the iphone and the interface looks nice. how much is it? I think the $299 price point is the most that most people are willing to pay

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

      by Plug ( 14127 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:21AM (#29217367) Homepage

      500, in October. [engadget.com].

      That works out to $712 USD as of this post (click for a more up-to-date rate [xe.com]), but that will probably be European style - unlocked and with no contract.

      It will be up to carriers in countries like the US to decide how much to subsidise the phone, over what contract term.

      • by Plug ( 14127 )

        My apologies, Slashdot ate my euro symbol. That's 500 euro.

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

        by Hellasboy ( 120979 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:29AM (#29217515)

        It's headed for T-Mobile. It cleared all the FCC requirements a few weeks ago and the specs list the 1700/2100 band that T-Mobie USA uses.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hurricane78 ( 562437 )

        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 sim

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

      by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:32AM (#29217563)

      specs are better than the iphone and the interface looks nice. how much is it? I think the $299 price point is the most that most people are willing to pay

      How are these specs better then the iPhone 3GS? The 3GS contains:

      • CPU: ARM Cortex-A8 running at 600 MHz (same as N900)
      • Memory: 256 MB (same as N900)
      • GPU: PowerVR SGX (same as N900
      • Max Internal flash: 32 GB (same as N900)

      Aside from the hardware keyboard, I'm not seeing how it's better hardware-wise.

      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:35AM (#29217623)

        You missed the part where it said "it runs Linux". At that point whatever stats it has you multiply by 911 to get the real stats. If comparing to the iPhone, you multiply by 911 *twice* to get the comparison stats.

        Act, Gary, act.

      • 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.

        • I would think that by then both of these things will have been thoroughly outclassed.

          The US is funny - most europeans (with contracts) get a new phone every year, though the companies are trying to elongate that at the moment.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
        It's pretty close to the GS, but it's ahead of the earlier ones. One obvious example is the GPU which, prior to the GS, only supported OpenGL 1.1 (i.e. no shaders). One thing I found interesting was:

        Built-in FM transmitter

        Given that these are illegal in much of the world (although the relevant laws are not enforced for low-power transmitters), I wonder if this will limit adoption.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by the_crowbar ( 149535 )

          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, Informative)

        by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:46AM (#29217793) Journal

        specs are better than the iphone and the interface looks nice. how much is it? I think the $299 price point is the most that most people are willing to pay

        How are these specs better then the iPhone 3GS? The 3GS contains:

        • CPU: ARM Cortex-A8 running at 600 MHz (same as N900)
        • Memory: 256 MB (same as N900)
        • GPU: PowerVR SGX (same as N900
        • Max Internal flash: 32 GB (same as N900)

        Aside from the hardware keyboard, I'm not seeing how it's better hardware-wise.

        Up to 1 GB of application memory (256 MB RAM, 768 MB virtual memory)
        Data transfers over a cellular network 10/2Mbps
        Removable battery
        Wide aspect ratio 16:9 (WVGA)
        Video recording file format: .mp4; codec: MPEG-4
        Video recording at up to 848x480 pixels (WVGA) and up to 25fps
        Removable battery
        Video playback file formats: .mp4, .avi, .wmv, .3gp; codecs: H.264, MPEG-4, Xvid, WMV, H.263
        5 MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens and LED flash
        3D graphics accelerator with OpenGL ES 2.0 support
        Removable battery
        32 GB internal storage
        Expandable to up to 48 GB with external microSD card
        Removable battery
        800x480 resolution screen
        Removable battery

        There's more, but I'm tiered of copying and pasting. Don't get me wrong, the iPhone is nice, but these specs are better as far as I know (not sure about the widescreen). Oh, and there's a Removable battery

        • by dissy ( 172727 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:52AM (#29217919)

          I think you forgot the most important new feature.

          It has a removable battery!

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

          by twoboxen ( 1111241 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:57AM (#29217975)
          FM transmitter, micro-USB.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > Removable battery

          That does it for me - I'm getting the iPhone!

        • 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.


        • CDMA (Score:2, Informative)

          by melstav ( 174456 )

          You missed a big difference for people in the USA... Quoting the specifications page [nokia.com]

          Operating frequency

          * Quad-band GSM EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
          * WCDMA 900/1700/2100 MHz

          That's right. This device will be available with CDMA support. Which means that people in the US who are customers of carriers who didn't adopt GSM like everybody else in the world ( eg: Sprint, Verizon ) will, in theory, be able to use the phone, too.

          And before you say that we should al

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

        by jfanning ( 35979 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:49AM (#29217859) Homepage

        Much, much higher resolution screen, 800x480.

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

        by Mr Z ( 6791 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @01:27PM (#29219349) Homepage Journal

        Where's the iPhone's 3GS 5 megapixel camera with flash (and Carl Zeiss optics and integrated lens cap), and 800x480 @25fps video? Oh, wait, iPhone 3GS only goes up to 640x480 on the video and 3 megapixels on the camera, no flash, no lens cap.

        Also, what's the display resolution? The N900 ix 800x480, a whopping 384K pixels. The iPhone 3GS weighs in at a paltry 480x320, sporting less than half the screen real estate at 153K pixels.

        Identical specs indeed.

  • Releases? (Score:2, Troll)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 )
    When? Coming soon is not releasing... yet.
  • Design?! (Score:2, Funny)

    But looking at the phone picture, the design is not very much attractive, is it? Just scroll to top of the page [slashdot.org]

    - it is right there above Linux Penguin.

    This is Slashdot, we are not supposed to click on TFA link to see more details....

  • Sigh (Score:2, Funny)

    by epiphani ( 254981 )

    32GB internal memory etc.

    If it has 32GB of internal memory, bend me over and call me nancy.

    memory != storage. Please don't do that.

    • Your right, 256MB memory with 768MB virtual. It as 32GB of internal storage. You editors should know better.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by capnkr ( 1153623 )
      Dearest Nancy -

      It uses flash memory as it's storage method. Call it memory or storage, whichever you prefer, & it doesn't matter, since it's both...


      Mass memory

      * 32 GB internal storage
      * Store up to 7000 MP3 songs or 40 hours of high-quality video
      * Up to 16 GB of additional storage with an external microSD card

      • by capnkr ( 1153623 )
        Re: above, in my writing - 'method' should be 'medium'. Or perhaps 'media'. You pick, I don't care. ;)
  • I don't suppose there's any chance in getting this phone in a flavor that supports TMobile's 3G network?

  • by andrewd18 ( 989408 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:31AM (#29217539)
    Sure, but does it run Lin... oh. Nevermind.
    • by ArcherB ( 796902 )

      Sure, but does it run Lin... oh. Nevermind.

      I was literally asking the same question. Sure, I know the phone is Linux based, but will I be able to sync it up with Ubuntu desktop?

    • Go ahead and ask. This is /. after all. We *like* to post questions here which would be answered by reading the headline, article summary, or first paragraph of the linked to article.

  • 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.

  • DO WANT (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Becausegodhasmademe ( 861067 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:31AM (#29217551)

    Open source? Check.

    Looks stylish? Check.

    Hardware built by reputable supplier? Check.

    Did I mention it was open source?

    I know what my next phone will be!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rho ( 6063 )

      Keyboard missing a dedicated number row? Check.

      UI a mishmash of whizzo gimmicks without much thought put into them? Check.

      Instantly abandoned as soon as Nokia sees another shiny object? Check.

      I want to like this thing. I do not. This is neither a BB nor an iPhone killer.

    • Shaped, sized and weighted like a nonpocketable brick? Check.

  • by network23 ( 802733 ) * on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:34AM (#29217603) Journal
    Â Wireless. Bigger than an iPhone. Lame. Â
  • by Plug ( 14127 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:34AM (#29217607) Homepage

    Look at the N900 feature list [nokia.com] - "Phone" is fourth down.

    Maemo may power Nokia's high-end devices, but this is no reason to sound the death knell for Symbian. With regard to Nokia, they make a lot of phones that are not the N900, and do not cost 500 euro. There are also dozens of other companies supporting the Symbian Foundation [wikipedia.org], including many other manufacturers like Samsung [samsungmobile.com] and Sony Ericsson [sonyericsson.com].

    Symbian^4 will use Qt as its UI layer [tamoggemon.com], and Maemo is moving into a similar direction [maemo.org] (that's why Nokia bought Trolltech!) - targeting both platforms should be quite simple.

  • CDMA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ari_j ( 90255 )
    *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 swb ( 14022 )

      What state do you live in? Hawaii or Alaska? Is there a lower 48 with AT&T coverage that bad?

      • Re:CDMA (Score:4, Informative)

        by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:41PM (#29218649)
        AT&T's coverage map [cellularmap.net]. See all that vast, empty area? Here's a map from AT&T themselves [att.com]. Still lots of empty areas, and if you zoom in on their interactive coverage map [att.com] you'll find that the additional orange is actually "partner" service. What that means is that you can't get AT&T 'home' service if you are in those areas.

        Also, I happen to live in one of the supposedly "Best" AT&T service islands in the middle of the vast empty area on the first map, and typing in my ZIP code on the AT&T "build your package" wizard returns a message that "this is one of the few areas we haven't reached yet."
        • 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.
  • 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 marnanel ( 98063 ) <slashdot.marnanel@org> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:38AM (#29217679) Homepage Journal
    from the where's-my-root-prompt dept.

    $ sudo gainroot [wordpress.com]

    There it is!
  • 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...

    • by rkhalloran ( 136467 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:59AM (#29217999) Homepage

      Given this looks like a major upgrade from the existing Nokia tablets, this link [maemo.org] might fill in the gap

  • I'm a bit surprised that "Maemo media player" does not list Ogg Vorbis or Theora as supported formats...

    I assume there are add-on packages that do support them, but it seems like an odd omission for a Linux-based platform that's been around plenty long enough to have developed support for legally-free codecs.

    (I still want one...)

    • 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 :-)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fatphil ( 181876 )
      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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by chill ( 34294 )

      Surprised? You need to keep up on your geek news.

      This is a NOKIA phone. Nokia is one of the two main companies that objected to OGG formats (vorbis & theora) being specified in the HTML5 spec. They aren't fully confident about the patent situation regarding OGG.

  • Connectivity

    * 3.5mm AV connector
    * TV out (PAL/NTSC) with Nokia Video Connectivity Cable
    * Micro-USB connector, High-Speed USB 2.0
    * Bluetooth v2.1 including support for stereo headsets
    * Integrated FM transmitter
    * Integrated GPS with A-GPS

    I'm sure they mean receiver, from the other pieces I've read, but I still wonder if they have low-wattage TX capability for hands-free calls, a'la iPod transmitter for use in the car, the john, or other places where an FM receiver and speakers are available.

    • Re:FM "Transmitter"? (Score:5, Informative)

      by PeterBrett ( 780946 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:07PM (#29218113) Homepage

      It's a low-powered FM transmitter, so that you can use it to play music over your in-car stereo without needing an interface cable.

    • Why wouldn't it have an FM transmitter? My wife has an LG KM400, that has a built-in FM transmitter, too. I think it's a "to be expected" feature in that price class.
    • Dear Sir,
      You appear to have made a post that is not about OGG Vorbis support, although it should have been clear to you, based on the three previous posts and the time at which you posted, that your obligation was to make such a post, in as redundant a manner as possible.

      Thank you,
      The Management
      • OGG over FM? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by itomato ( 91092 )

        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

  • Resolution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Colonel Korn ( 1258968 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @11:55AM (#29217939)

    No one here ever mentions resolution as a feature on phone screens, and they should. I have eyesight just good enough to pass the DMV tests without corrective lenses and that's sufficient for my old iPhone's 320x480 screen to be painful for me in comparison to the 640x480 screen on my new phone. I can read significantly smaller text, meaning I can see much larger chunks of real web pages, on the higher resolution screen.

    The N900 described in TFA has an 800x480 resolution. That should get people very excited!

  • 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
  • by itomato ( 91092 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @12:02PM (#29218035)

    The n810 is great, except when you need to make a (non-skype) phone call.

    The new keyboard looks good, although it will take me another 9 months to adjust to the new key layout.

    The black plastic finish should take more of a beating (drops, in particular) compared to the metal finish of the current unit, but Man! It looks so thick! http://www.sizeasy.com/page/size_comparison/23639-Nokia-N810-vs-N97-vs-Nokia-N900 [sizeasy.com]

    The diplay appears to be the same, which is great, unless you're viewing through polarized lenses. The biggest complaint I have with the n810 display is the PDA-class GPU. The PowerVR chip should turn things around. Is it the same core as in iPhone?

    Good to see the stand present on the rear.

    Alert me when the price & demand drop so I can pick one up for $250.

  • I have both an N800 and an N810. I've recently been developing Maemo apps for them. I SO FREAKING WANT THIS PHONE but damn that's expensive. Still, I'll try to get one. Verizon can blow me.
  • 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.
  • I own an N800 and this thing is a huge improvement compared to it and the N810. The keyboard is not new, but there are features that are just making this thing right:

    1., It's a phone. How much I which the N800 would have that. It's an actual phone!
    2., They added a very good camera, but no video conferencing, which is smart. Skype video conferencing still does not work on Linux (yay, closed source software) and the early tries to make video conferencing work just went horribly wrong (they closed the video co

  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I have the N770 with only 128mg RAM, I get by very well and have not wore out my 1 gig flash by all that swapping. The apps are not from win32land, they are quite well suited to low memory. What the N770 lacks is CPU and the N900 delivers 600mhz (read: I am jealous!!). These Internet Tablets are very well designed and each revision is greatly improved. I am very happy to see a new model as I was worried that Nokia was throwing in the towel on Maemo, which is another great asset for this line.

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.