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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nokia unveils its first Linux phone

The world's largest handset maker Nokia unveiled on Thursday its first high-end phone running on Linux software.

The Finnish firm has dabbled with Linux since 2005 using it in "Internet tablets" -- sleek phone-like devices used to access the Web that have failed to gain mass-market appeal in part due to their lack of a cellular radio.

The new N900 model, with cellular connection, touch screen and slide-out keyboard, will retail for around 500 euros ($712), excluding subsidies and taxes.

Nokia's workhorse Symbian operating system controls half of the smartphone market volume -- more than its rivals Apple, Research in Motion and Google put together.

Nokia said Linux would work well in parallel with Symbian in its high-end product range.

"This is in no way putting Symbian in jeopardy," Anssi Vanjoki, head of sales at Nokia, told Reuters.

"Open source Symbian is going to be our main platform, and we are expending and growing it the best we can, both in terms of functionality as well as distribution ... populating more and more of our product line with Symbian," he said.

The new model will use ARM's Cortex-A8 processor.

"If you look at the energy management properties we have in ARM, at least today, they are clearly better, miles and miles better, than what we have in Intel architecture," Vanjoki said, adding the company would not count out using Intel processors in the same product range later.

Linux is the most popular type of free, or so-called open source, computer operating system available to the public. It competes directly with Microsoft Corp, which charges for its Windows software and opposes freely sharing its code.

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