On Thursday, Nokia unveiled its first phone using a Linux OS. The N900 uses Nokia's Linux-based Maemo OS, but for the first time in an actual cell phone as opposed to an Internet Tablet that requires wi-fi or cell phone pairing.
The N900 runs Nokia's new Maemo 5 software. Nokia makes sure to emphasize the device's ability to run "dozens of applications simultaneously." Size-wise, it compares favorably with the iPhone 3GS, at 110.9 mm x 59.8 mm x 18 mm vs. 115.5 mm x 62.1 mm x 12.3 mm. Yes, yes, it loses out by about 50% in the thickness category, but otherwise, it's pretty similar. Why that extra thickness? A slide-out QWERTY keyboard, of course.
Unlike other recent smartphones (Android, iPhone, Pre) the N900 uses a Mozilla-based browser, instead of a Webkit-based one. The N900 has a TFT 3.5" resistive touchscreen, with 16M colors, 800 x 480.
Additional specs: 32GB of storage, with microSD card expansion, and a 5-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics. Also, A-GPS, an FM receiver / transmitter, compass, accelerometer and up to 9 hours of talk time (emphasis on the "up to").
Clearly, Nokia wants this to be an iPhone killer, but what it doesn't have, naturally, is the App Store.
Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President, Markets, Nokia, said in their press release announcing the N900:
"With Linux software, Mozilla-based browser technology and now also with cellular connectivity, the Nokia N900 delivers a powerful mobile experience. The Nokia N900 shows where we are going with Maemo and we'll continue to work with the community to push the software forward. What we have with Maemo is something that is fusing the power of the computer, the internet and the mobile phone, and it is great to see that it is evolving in exciting ways."
The N900 will carry a retail price of €500 before carrier subsidies. It will launch in "select markets" in October, wherever that means. Unfortunately, no word on U.S. pricing or availability yet.