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Nokia’s High-end Smartphone Future with Maemo, not Symbian

Finland’s Nokia is still the largest mobile handset manufacturer in the world, but its influence in the high-end (and high-profit) smartphone market is increasingly falling short of competitors like RIM and Apple, in part because Nokia can’t seem to capitalize on features and capabilities consumers want in a smartphone. But Nokia is determined to forge ahead in the smartphone marketplace—and the company is placing its best on the Linux-based Maemo mobile OS, rather than the tried-and-true Symbian OS that has powered most of the company’s devices for years. At a gathering in London, Nokia marketing executives told Maeomo developers that Nokia plans to drop Symbian from its high-end N-series Internet-capable mobile devices by 2012.

Nokia N900

Nokia has been building its high-end devices around the Symbian operating system for more than a decade; however, the company’s new N900 is the first device Nokia has shipped based on Maemo. The N900 is largely viewed as a transitional device to help developers (and even a few customers) make the transition from Symbian to Maemo. Although Nokia has not made an official statement, the company apparently will maintain Symbian on its E-series devices (aimed at enterprise customers) and video-centric X-series devices. Nokia is also promising tools to developers so they can create applications for both Symbian and Maemo, which in turn can be sold though Nokia’s Ovi Store.

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