Smartphone Showdown: Nokia Ships N900

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) upped the smartphone stakes today as it announced it has shipped the first N900 devices. (See Nokia Ships N900.)

With this new high-end handset, Nokia is hoping to restore its smartphone image, which has taken a beating from the success of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iPhone and taken a backseat to devices based on Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Android platform, such as Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s Droid. (See Verizon's Attack of the 'Droids, Android's Steep Climb, and Verizon's Droid Takes On AT&T's iPhone, and The Android Shopping List.)

That the phone maker has lost ground to the likes of Apple and BlackBerry and others is evident in the company's latest market-share figures. Just this year, Nokia's share of the smartphone market fell from 41 percent in the second quarter to 35 percent in the third quarter. (See iPhone Sales Soar.)

Nokia has even launched a legal battle against Apple, claiming the iPhone infringes 10 of its patents. (See Nokia Fires Volley at Apple's iPhone .)

Against that backdrop, Nokia started shipping its high-end hopeful, the N900, which will be available in retail stores this month for €500 (US$748), not including sales tax or subsidies. Initially, the handset will be sold in Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and North America.

One of the standout features of this device is that it's based on the open-source Linux-based Maemo operating system, which Nokia describes as having been "designed with the Internet at its core."

Nokia actually calls the N900 device a mobile computer because the company claims it can browse the Internet and run multiple simultaneous applications in the same way as a desktop computer.

The N900 also has a 5 megapixel camera and built-in 32-Gbyte storage, which is enough to 7,000 songs or 40 hours of DVD-quality video.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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