Maemo - as on the Nokia N900 - is still more of a geek's paradise than a consumer-ready platform, so we hope the development team responsible for it will be working hard over the next couple of years. That's because the Maemo marketing team have let slip that, as of 2012, Maemo will replace Symbian as the OS for Nokia's entire Nseries range of handsets.
Nokia's various open-source teams are well on their way to being the flirting teases of the mobile OS world; after last week's Symbian Foundation demo video, showing a nifty amalgam of augmented reality, geo-location services and combined social network streams, head of Maemo marketing Peter Schneider took to the stage at Nokia's The Way We Live Next 3.0 event to discuss his team's vision of "contagious content". According to Schneider, one day our mobile devices will be able to spot hot topics of information - whether they be Twitter messages, photos or something else - nearby to us, and flag them up to better involve us.
SlashGear is at Nokia's The Way We Live Next 3.0 conference in Helsinki, Finland this week, and the company has just confirmed that the much-anticipated Nokia N900 Maemo smartphone will be shipping today. We've been told that the handset - which has a 3.5-inch resistive touchscreen and slide-out QWERTY keyboard - went out from Nokia's production facilities over the weekend, with shipments of the handset beginning in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and North America.
Video demo of N900 Maemo 5 enhancements after the cut
Nokia's N900 is already enticing developers, but right now there's not the same compelling catalog of applications as you might find, say, in the iPhone's App Store. Happily that just leaves room for Maemo coders to fill with their own apps, such as a homebrew open-source Spotify application.
Video demo after the cut
Having dithered around its release date like a forgetful felon, the Nokia N900 looks to have finally been granted a more or less official launch window. According to the official US Nokia store, the N900 will begin shipping at the "end of October 2009"; that tallies with what Amazon UK were saying back at the end of September (October 26th), but the mega-retailer has now changed its tune.
The Nokia N900 was the stand-out device from Nokia World back in September, and we've been tracking the Maemo 5 smartphone ever since. Imagine our surprise, then, when a pre-release N900 dropped onto the SlashGear test bench today; the hardware is final, so the 5-megapixel autofocus Carl Zeiss camera is onboard, together with HSPA, WiFi b/g, a 3.5-inch 800 x 480 touchscreen and slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and you can check out our video unboxing and gallery after the cut.
In the second chunk of Maemo 6 news today, Nokia have been spilling details regarding the upcoming OS at the Maemo Summit. Steve from UMPC Portal has snapped some of the slides, with confirmation that Maemo 6 will support multitouch and capacitive touchscreens - as we already knew - together with some previews of potential UI designs.
Nokia have already been pretty upfront about their intentions with the cross-platform Qt framework and Maemo, but the company has just pushed out an official Qt port to Maemo 5 in the form of a "technology preview" release. Contrary to earlier news that Qt wouldn't play nicely with Maemo 5, the OS which the Nokia N900 will run, but only Maemo 6 (expected in late 2010), the Qt port "is designed specifically to work within the Maemo 5 environment".
Video demo on the N900 after the cut
We'd suggest you dip into your handy pinch-of-salt bag for this one, since we've seen what can happen with Nokia shipping predictions before, but according to The Nokia Blog shipments of N900 handsets are expected to reach US distribution centers on September 27th. The Maemo 5 smartphone - launched at Nokia World two weeks ago - went up for preorder on September 4th, and assuming the trucks turn up on time, the first units could be in buyers' hands by early October.