Nokia ships the N900 Linux phone

11 Nov 2009

Nokia’s most talked-about handset, the N900, has begun shipping around the world. The device features Nokia’s Maemo 5 Linux-based operating system.

The device is expected to cost around €500 SIM-free. Running on the new Maemo 5 software, the Nokia N900 empowers users to have dozens of application windows open and running simultaneously while taking full advantage of the cellular features, touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard.

Network compatibility

When the N900 hits Europe, America and Russia, it will be compatible with most networks. However, according to Nokia’s conversations blog, the device won’t initially be available on new 3G SIM cards from 3 in Ireland, the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Austria.

A software update is in the pipeline and is slated to become available before the end of the year.

“The Nokia N900 has generated a lot of interest since its public launch in August, which has been reflected in the device pre-orders,” explained Luis Martinez, vice-president for Nokia N-series.

“What’s exciting is the Maemo software, which takes its cues from the desktop computer and offers a full browsing experience like no other handset. We believe the Nokia N900 will be a very compelling device for people who are passionate about technology.”

About the Nokia N900

At the heart of the Nokia N900 is its powerful ARM Cortex-A8 processor and up to 1GB of total application memory. Users can browse the internet the way they would on any computer and keep dozens of application windows open simultaneously on the dashboard.

The panoramic desktops in the Nokia N900 can be personalised with widgets, contacts and shortcuts. Pictures and videos taken with the 5Mpx Carl Zeiss camera automatically show where they were taken, and users can add their own description tags to make searching the photos even easier. SMS and instant messages are organised as chat flow and people can conveniently switch between the multiple conversation windows.

The built-in 32 GB storage is big enough to store up to 7,000 songs or 40 hours of DVD-quality video, and it can be expanded up to 48GB with an external microSD card.


Nokia works closely with the developer community and has recently seen significant innovation happening with Maemo. As a result, people will be able to discover a wide range of games, utilities, themes, panoramic wallpapers and service plug-ins for photo sharing and messaging for the Nokia N900 through Ovi Store and Maemo Select, starting later in the year.

In October, Nokia announced official Qt port to Maemo 5. This means developers can use Qt software to target the Nokia N900 and that applications can be easily ported to all Qt’s supported platforms, including the next Maemo 6 release as well as Symbian.

By John Kennedy

Photo: The N900 Linux phone.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years