Nokia has been working on a new Linux-based smartphone operating system for a couple of years. Originally called Maemo, the project merged with the Moblin netbook Linux project a while back to become MeeGo, a customizable, robust touch-friendly Linux-based operating system. Eventually the plan was to use MeeGo instead of Symbian in high-end smartphones. But then Nokia decided to sign a partnership with Microsoft to use Windows Phone 7 instead and most people figured that was the end of Nokia’s MeeGo ambitions.
But it turns out Nokia will launch one consumer device based on MeeGo. The company has unveiled a new smartphone called the Nokia N9. It’s a slick looking smartphone with the specs to match including a 3.9 inch, 854 x 480 pixel curved AMOLED display, a 1 GHz TI OMAP 3630 processor, and an 8MP camera with a wide-angle 28mm lens.
The phone runs a new finger-friendly version of MeeGo which looks absolutely wonderful in the demo videos (although that’s kind of what demo videos are for). There’s a Webkit-based browser, a maps application with turn-by-turn navigation, and a user interface designed for fingure input including support for swipe-from-the-screen-edge gestures to switch between functions.
Overall it looks like a great phone and it’s a shame that because it’s likely to be the first and last MeeGo phone from Nokia it’s unlikely that you’ll see a huge push for third party apps or other new features for the phone. That said, MeeGo is open source software and it’s possible that we could see other developers pick up the torch and carry on.
Nokia is also releasing a new phone aimed at developers called the Nokia N950. It’s similar to the N9 in many respects, but it has a slide-out keyboard and a 4 inch display. This model won’t be sold at retail, but instead will be made available to MeeGo developers.
via The Nokia Blog