Nokia Announces Linux-Based Smartphone, What About Symbian?

Nokia’s latest E900 has some people wondering if the company has finally come up with a smartphone that will rival Apple’s iPhone. Aimed at the top end of the market, you may recall that the new N900 is the company’s first phone running on Linux software. By taking advantage of Nokia's Linux-based Maemo operating system, the handset offers multitasking and Web browsing capabilities using its touchscreen and slide-out keyboard.

Although the N900 might be Nokia’s latest high-end device, don’t think this means the company is moving away from its Symbian operating system, which is currently the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. Nokia has said that Linux will work with—not replace—the Symbian operating system in Nokia's high-end device lineup. Symbian currently controls more than half of the global smartphone operating system market, beating out Apple, Research in Motion, and Google combined.

"This is in no way putting Symbian in jeopardy," said Anssi Vanjoki, head of sales at Nokia. "Open source Symbian is going to be our main platform, and we are expanding and growing it the best we can, both in terms of functionality as well as distribution ... populating more and more of our product line with Symbian."

We’ll be interested to see how well the Nokia N900 is received and what effect it has on the mobile phone OS market when it becomes available in select markets in October.