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Nokia N900 is already 14 years old

29. 09. 2023 Friday / By: Robert Denes / Generic / Exact time: BST / Print this page

14 years ago, Nokia launched the Nokia N900 touchscreen smartphone, which was the first to support the Maemo platform in 2009. Its default operating system, Maemo 5, is a Linux-based operating system originally developed for the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. It is the first Nokia device based on the Texas Instruments OMAP3 microprocessor with an ARM Cortex-A8 core.

Unlike the three previous Nokia Internet tablets, the Nokia N900 is the first Maemo device with telephone functions (quad-band GSM and 3G UMTS/HSDPA). The N900 functions as a mobile Internet device and includes e-mail, web browsing and access to online services, a 5-megapixel digital camera for still or video photography, a portable media player for music and video, a calculator, game console and word processor, SMS, and mobile telephony over a cellular network or VoIP Internet via (mobile or Wi-Fi). Maemo provides an X-terminal interface to interact with the underlying operating system.

It was unveiled at Nokia World on September 2, 2009, and was released in the United States and 9 European countries in November 2009. The N900 was released alongside the Maemo 5, so the device has an overall more touch-friendly interface than its predecessors, as well as a customizable home screen that mixes app icons with hotkeys and widgets. Maemo 5 supports Adobe Flash Player 9.4 and includes several apps designed specifically for mobile platforms, such as a new touch-friendly media player.

The Nokia N900 was announced on 17 September 2008 at a keynote by Ari Jaaksi of Nokia. New supported features have been announced for Maemo 5, such as cellular connectivity via 3G/HSPA, TI OMAP3 processor and high definition camera support. There's no word on backwards compatibility for older Internet tablets, and no time frame. The December 2008 release of the pre-alpha Maemo 5 software development kit targeted the OMAP3 architecture exclusively, revamped the user interface, including support for hardware graphics acceleration, and other features not found in the Internet Tablet at the time, such as mobile data connectivity and high definition camera support.

The first photo and specifications of the N900, under the development code name Rover, were published in May 2009. The August 2009 release of FCC approval documents confirmed the device and gave it the second RX-51 codename. The Nokia N900 was officially announced on September 2, 2009 at Nokia World 2009 in Germany. According to Nokia, this is the 4th of 5 steps in the line of Maemo devices that started in 2005 with the Nokia 770.

The device was initially available in select markets from November 2009 (December 4 in the UK) for a retail price of €599 in Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Retail price at launch was $649 in the US, excluding sales taxes and subsidies. In Canada, it was available through independent retailers for approximately C$800. As of March 2010, Nokia's Australian website lists the N900 on the homepage, hinting at a release in the near future. Black was the only color available at launch. Initially, availability was extremely limited, leading to further delays. According to Nokia's statement, pre-order demand was higher than expected. The Nokia N900 was launched on 29 May 2010 in Hong Kong with additional features to facilitate handwriting input. Its launch price was HKD 4,998.

The Nokia N900 is powered by the OMAP 3430 ARM Cortex-A8, a 65 nanometer CMOS process-based system-on-chip by Texas Instruments. The OMAP 3430 consists of three microprocessors; the Cortex A8 used to run the operating system and applications at 600 MHz (with appropriate overclocking up to 1.15 GHz), the PowerVR SGX530 GPU by Imagination Technologies, which supports OpenGL ES 2.0 and is capable of up to 14 MPolys/s , and a TMS320 C64x, the digital signal processors run at 430 MHz, are used to run image processing (camera), sound processing (phoning) and data transmission. The main purpose of the TMS320 C64x is to relieve the Cortex A8 of processing audio and video signals. Also, on some N900 devices, the OMAP 3430 was successfully overclocked to 1150 MHz by using a modified kernel and editing the kernel's performance configuration file. The system has 256 MB of dedicated high-performance RAM (Mobile DDR) linked to 768 MB of swap space managed by the operating system. This provides a total of 1 GB of virtual memory.

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