updated 12:00 pm EST, Wed November 18, 2009
Most Nokia phones to use Maemo by 2012
Nokia will abandon Symbian for all its Nseries services by 2012, the company said at a launch event for the N900. The Maemo-based smartphone is the only one of its type in Nokia's lineup so far, but the company plans to gradually phase out Symbian S60 on all its Nseries devices over time. It should eventually end in relatively mainstream devices and not just high-end flagships like the N900, which itself is considered a "bridge" between the old and new worlds.
The company doesn't have any plans to use Maemo for its business-oriented Eseries phones or its new Xseries mainstream media phones, but Really Mobile Project hears that Nokia was "surprised" by strong early demand for the N900 and may reconsider if it's clear users prefer the Linux-based platform. A Maemo-specific app store is for now running side-by-side with the Ovi Store but will be phased out once Maemo is integrated into Ovi.
Unlike Symbian, Maemo is designed much more for touchscreens and is also better at multitasking; the N900 can run several apps at once without necessarily slowing down.
Plans on this level are a potentially dangerous blow to Symbian. It depends on Nokia as its largest customer and already suffered a setback when Samsung unveiled bada and was rumored to be dropping Symbian entirely by 2011. It's the use of the platform by these and other companies that has kept the OS as the market leader in smartphones but which could be taken down both by the Maemo shift as well as the rise of competing platforms Android and iPhone.