The Nokia N900, I’m predicting, has got the chops to be one of the most exciting phones of the year, and it’s all thanks to the OS it’s running on. It’s called Maemo, and it’s the first time we’ve seen a phone running on what I call ‘proper Linux’ (yes, I know Android and the iPhone OS are both built on Linux, but hey, go with it). Up until now, though, we’ve only seen a few, sparse details about what the OS is actually like.
Until now, that is, because Mobile Review have put up a really, really, really exhaustive review of Maemo. And I do mean exhaustive. It’s huge.
But what does it all add up to? Well, the first thing is that is best described as basically being the same OS from their previous internet tablets, with some hints of Symbian S60 (like you get in the Nokia N97) chucked in for good measure. The widget-y front end is particularly nice, and unlike Symbian, you’re not tied to putting widgets in specific places, you can drop ’em anywhere you want on the home screen. Or should I say home screens, because Maemo’s got the same ‘multiple homescreens’ thing going on as phones like the HTC Hero, or, as in my review yesterday, SPB Mobile Shell for WinMo.
Of course, Nokia are still working on the OS, so there are some bits that aren’t as good as they should be at the minute (notably the web browser’s a bit slow, and the mapping app isn’t as good as Nokia Maps on Symbian phones), but even if Nokia don’t fix everything, the OS is completely open source, and once it gets into the hands of modders, you can guarantee it’ll be taken far beyond what even Nokia come up with.
So, all in all, Maemo still seems to be a work in progress at the minute, but it’s still got the chops to be a really impressive bit of kit. Whether it’ll become as prevalent as Symbian remains to be seen, but at the very least, Maemo is good enough to get me excited about the Nokia N900…
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