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Nokia's Linux OS to support 3G

Maemo 5, an upcoming version of the operating system used in Nokia's N800-series internet tablets, will support cellular connectivity for the first time
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Nokia has revealed that the next version of its Maemo internet-tablet operating system will support 3G cellular connectivity.

Maemo is the platform used in the Finnish manufacturer's internet-tablet series, the latest iteration of which was the the N810. On Wednesday, Nokia's open-source chief Dr Ari Jaaksi told the audience at an Open Source In Mobile (OSIM) event in Berlin that Maemo 5 would include support for high-speed packet access (HSPA), a standard sometimes described as 'super-3G'.

The operating systems in existing N800-series tablets only allow voice calls through VoIP applications and Wi-Fi, rather than natively supporting cellular connectivity. A mobile device supporting cellular connectivity would be able to link directly to mobile-phone networks.

Nokia recently upgraded its membership of the Linux Foundation from 'Silver' to 'Gold' status, and has contributed to the Linux kernel code for using HSPA with Texas Instruments' OMAP3 processor — itself another element that will gain newfound support in Maemo 5.

Photo-sharing using a high-definition camera will also be supported in Maemo 5, Jaaksi said.

A spokesperson for Nokia told ZDNet.co.uk on Thursday that the successor to the N810 had not yet been announced, but pointed out that, in the open-source model, "the software comes first and then products based on it may come later".

The GPS- and Wi-Fi-equipped N810 and its predecessors, which fall into the category of 'mobile internet devices', or MIDs, have not been heavy hitters in the consumer market. They have, however, been popular with developers who are keen to address what some think will be a large market for mid-sized browsing devices.

Aside from the N800-series and Maemo, Nokia has thus far stayed out of the mobile Linux battle that is brewing between Google's Android platform, the future open-source Symbian and the LiMo Foundation's mobile Linux stack.

In June, Jaaksi said Linux developers needed to learn the rules of the mobile business — including elements such as digital rights management (DRM) and SIM locks — if they were to make an impact in the handset world.

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