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Nokia’s N900: Emerging flagship device

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on September 1, 2009

The right partnership nets it right for Nokia at the first go: Nokia N900!

Symbian still has 45% of the smartphone market share in the world and yet as an Mobile OS platform it is mostly ante-diluvian and uncharismatic, which explains Nokia’s move into other open source platforms (read Linux) and partnerships (read Windows). This strategy to de-risk seems to have already got some attention of the media, tech enthusiasts and device geeks who by now had gotten to the habit of talking iPhone, Blackberry,Android and Palm.  

Nokia marked the next phase in the evolution of Maemo software with the new Nokia N900. Taking its cues from the world of desktop computing, the open source, Linux-based Maemo software delivers a PC-like experience on a handset-sized device.

Heres an AV from YouTube demonstrating the Maemo experience.

The Nokia N900 has evolved from Nokia’s previous generation of Internet Tablets and broadens the choice for technology enthusiasts who appreciate the ability to multitask and browse the internet like they would on their desktop computer.

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, touch screen and QWERTY keyboard.

Nokia N 900

“With Linux software, Mozilla-based browser technology and now also with cellular connectivity, the Nokia N900 delivers a powerful mobile experience,” says Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President, Markets, Nokia. “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.” Nokia had always spoken about Convergence and designed its product around this theme. Now it seems to be getting its user experience around this theme right.

Designed for computer-grade performance in a compact size, Maemo complements Nokia’s other software platforms, such as Symbian, which powers Nokia’s smartphones. Going forward the Maemo may become the high end platform for Nokia because for its superior abilities and Symbian would deal with the mid and low range phones.

“Just as Nokia continues to expand and diversify its device portfolio, so it is deploying multiple platforms to allow it to serve different purposes and address different markets. While we have seen continued growth in Symbian as a smartphone platform, Maemo enables Nokia to deliver new mobile computing experiences based on open-source technology that has strong ties with desktop platforms,” says Jonathan Arber, Senior Research Analyst in Consumer Mobile at IDC.

More multitasking with Maemo

Nokia Tablet
The Nokia N900 packs a powerful ARM Cortex-A8 processor, up to 1GB of application memory and OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics acceleration. The result is PC-like multitasking, allowing many applications to run simultaneously. Switching between applications is simple, as all running content is constantly available through the dashboard. The panoramic homescreen can be fully personalized with favorite shortcuts, widgets and applications.

To make web browsing more enjoyable, the Nokia N900 features a high-resolution WVGA touch screen and fast internet connectivity with 10/2 HSPA and WLAN. Thanks to the browser powered by Mozilla technology, websites look the way they would on any computer. Online videos and interactive applications are vivid with full Adobe Flash(TM) 9.4 support. Maemo software updates happen automatically over the internet.

Messaging on the N900 is easy and convenient thanks to the full physical slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Setting up email happens with only a few touches and the Nokia Messaging service mobilizes up to 10 personal email accounts. Text message or IM exchanges with friends are shown in one view and all conversations are organized as separate windows.

The Nokia N900 has 32GB of storage, which is expandable up to 48GB via a microSD card. For photography, the Maemo software and the N900 come with a new tag cloud user interface that will help users get the most out of the 5MP camera and Carl Zeiss optics.

The Nokia N900 will be available in select markets from October 2009 with an estimated retail price of EUR 500 excluding sales taxes and subsidies. While the device looks great, it will also be the apps, customer experience and software that will decide the acceptability of the device. Nokia has failed with the N97. Maemo may just be the shot in its arm to get better with the N 900.

The N900 will have a good opening but going forward where would Apple fit in with the iTablet. Only time will tell. Watch this space.

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Profiling Booklet 3G,Nokia’s foray into Netbooks

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on September 1, 2009

Another dumb dead piece of meat from Nokia stable?

The Finns are turning up the heat and in style! Two back to back announcements on the mobile computing front seems to have turned the spotlight on Nokia World event on September 2nd at Stuttgart, where it will unveil atleast one of the two new flagship devices on which the fortunes of the beleagured Mobile giant would seem to rest. Lately Samsung, Apple and RIM have taken a lot of sheen away from Nokia lately.

Nokia Netbook II

The first would be Nokia’s first foray into the wworld of netbooks, with its Booklet 3G. Nokia Booklet 3G is based on Intel Atom processor, features 10.1” screen, weighs 1.25 kilograms, measures “slightly more than two centimeters” and supports 3G/HSPA and Wi-Fi connectivity as well as A-GPS support. The netbook also sports Nokia’s broad suite of Ovi services. Besides, the mini-laptop comes with an HDMI port for HD video out, a front facing camera for video calling, integrated Bluetooth and an SD card reader. It is rumoured that Booklet 3G runs Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, an operating system that lacks certain security and other features that enterprise users may require. Moreover, the system features 10.1” screen, low-performance Atom processor, lacks DVD playback, but weighs 1.25kg, just like a fully-fledged business-oriented ultra low-voltage notebook.  Overall, those peculiarities do not make Nokia Booklet 3G as a good mobile PC for travelling.It does pack a 12 hour Hercules battery which is so in line with Nokia’s DNA! The 12 hour battery is a dream and a differentiator in a world of netbook wannabees!

The world of netbooks is becoming increasingly crowded and the party will hit the deck with the iTablet that is scheduled sometime early next year. So long, it is a rat race and Nokia joins the hoard. While there are many views on which way the device evolution is leading upto, my take is that netbooks are just another step in device evolution and this evolution would finally end somewhere in the smartphone space or thereabouts. In that respect, Nokia could have done better getting its smartphone portfolio and user interface in order, rather than descend into the crowded spaces of Netbooks. We will watch how the Booklet with the Nokia tab does for Nokia. If the prices are as indicated, around the $799 range, then this like the N 97 could end up becoming the non starter. Granted that the device looks neat and dapper, but it is only incremental in what it brings to the table not radical enough.

Nokia Netbook

Overall, it remains to be seen, whether Booklet 3G becomes popular. But at this point it does not seem to be a successful return of Nokia to the world of x86-based personal computers. Instead, Booklet 3G looks like a test vehicle to investigate the needs of Nokia’s clients.

Watch the Nokia Booklet 3G on the following YouTube Videos

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