Nokia Discusses Linux Strategy, New Handsets

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Nokia VP Kai Oistamo offered an overview of all that was new at Nokia World 09, starting Sept. 2

From the Nokia World 09 show in Stuttgart, Germany, starting Sept. 2, Kai Oistamo, Nokia executive vice president of devices, offered an overview of the mobile offerings Nokia was introducing at the event.

Oistamo prefaced the overview by remarking to a group of U.S. journalists that Nokia’s goal was to be the leading provider of mobile solutions, and that it was focused on creating strategies that quickly integrated its devices and services in order to offer a “seamless and intuitive user experience.”

To this end, Nokia will be creating a new Solutions unit, beginning 1 Oct, which will be led by Alberto Torres, currently the head of Nokia Devices Category Management.

“People have always been at the center of everything we do,” Oistamo emphasised.

Another point of interest at the show has been the release of specification details and a video on the Booklet 3G — a 2.75 pound netbook with an Intel Atom processor, and Nokia’s first attempt at a PC.

“We crashed YouTube’s server the day we launched the Booklet 3G,” Oistamo announced with some delight, explaining that the response to the Booklet has so far been strong. “It was the most viewed video on YouTube!”

The Booklet boasts a remarkable 12 hours of battery life — “When you fly across the Atlantic or the Pacific, you do not need to charge during that time. You are good to go, and your battery is full, and you can actually continue working after landing,” said Oistamo, an ability he credits to Nokia’s experience in the cell phone industry.

“It’s a great example of taking the benefits and the knowledge and the insights that we have had and now creating something in a new industry,” said Oistamo.

From Stuttgart, Nokia also launched the Mural smartphone, for AT&T, two music phones — the X6 and the X3 – a slimmed-down version of the N97, called the Mini, as well as Lifecasting with Ovi, a social networking application with Facebook.

In response to questions, Oistamo additionally offered details about the recently announced N900, which runs a Linux-based environment called Maemo, which Nokia hopes to attract developers to.

With the N900, said Oistamo, “We are taking a true desktop Linux environment and making that mobile, as opposed to taking yet another mobile operating system, [which] is a very big and important distinction.” By using the Linux desktop environment, he explained, it enables the N900 to leverage the innovations taking place in desktop environments.

While he wouldn’t offer specific release dates for the N900 or the Booklet 3G, Oistamo did confirm that both would be available in the United States, the former, most likely, with a subsidy through a cellular carrier.

“Here in Germany, we have made a deal with the carrier O2, and [they have] their own scheme of how they will subsidize it. They are going to price it at 249 Euros.”

Nokia’s announced pricing for the Booklet 3G is 575 Euro, or approximately $817 US. The X6 and the X3, which both feature Nokia’s Comes With Music, won’t be options for the U.S. market until Comes With Music is made available here first

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