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Nokia Linux tablets go 3G, OMAP3

Sep 18, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

Nokia's Linux-based web tablets may soon gain faster processors and built-in 3G cellular modems. Nokia executive Ari Jaaksi revealed today in a keynote at the Open Source in Mobile show that Nokia will add 3G/HSPA capabilities to an OMAP3-optimized Maemo 5 release for the tablets.

Jaaksi (pictured above), is VP of Maemo Software at Nokia. A slide show of Jaaksi's presentation, posted on his blog, suggests that during his OSiM keynote, he also revealed that Nokia plans to contribute code for 3G/HSPA on OMAP3 to the Linux kernel, and that Nokia has upgraded its membership in the Linux Foundation (LF) from a Silver to a Gold sponsorship. The LF's members page confirms the upgrade. Another revelation from the talk is that the upcoming Maemo 5 release will support photo sharing with HD cameras.

Jaaksi apparently did not offer a timetable for the release of Maemo 5. The last major revision of the Debian Linux-based distro, Maemo 4, appeared last November in conjunction with the arrival of the N810 Internet Tablet. Maemo 4 reflected N810 improvements including faster performance than the N800, and the addition of a slide-out hardware QWERTY thumb keyboard, GPS receiver, and a light-sensing screen dimmer.

N810 WiMAX Edition

The N800 and N810 both depend on WiFi for connectivity, but a newer WiMAX version of the N810 (pictured above) also supports that higher-bandwidth, longer range wireless technology. The addition of a cellular modem has long been anticipated, however. When we spoke with Ari Jaaksi about the interview with LinuxDevices held shortly after the Symbian and Trolltech acquisitions in June, Jaaksi hinted that that Nokia's Linux and Symbian efforts would not stay separate indefinitely. “Our goal is to have the same UI on both Linux and Symbian, and [Trolltech's] Qt platform lets us move forward toward that, with its cross platform technology,” he said.

Jaaksi later went on to comment that Nokia's continuing Linux development would not, however, spread to the smartphone market in the short-term. “We are expanding our Linux development, but we currently do not have any product announcement on Linux smartphones,” he said. In his new blog or presentation, Jaaksi did not mention whether Trolltech's Qt technology would be in any way involved in Maemo 5.

Nokia recently acquired the half of Symbian it did not previously own, and then vowed to make the Symbian OS open source. Around the same time, it also acquired cross-platform software company Trolltech, which has been a major player in the embedded Linux world, with its Qt stack used in Linux-based mobile phones from Motorola and others.

Chip upgrade ahead

The N810, including the WiMAX version, run on a TI OMAP 2420, clocked at 400MHz. TI's newer OMAP3 platform encompasses two similar system-on-chip (SoC) families based on the more powerful Cortex-A8 core: the cell-phone oriented OMAP34xx, and the more broadly focused OMAP35xx platform, which comes in four flavors. At a Maemo Summit, Nokia revealed plans to use the OMAP3430, according to a report from a reader.

On today's blog, Jaaksi writes, “The open source and the corporate world used to be very different. But now they overlap more and more each day.” He adds, somewhat cryptically, “For the suits I have one warning. We have no product announcements today. And for the hackers, we are not educating anybody here, not even the Linux community. But I've got a good story to tell.”


Nokia did not reveal the timetable for the release of Maemo 5. Ari Jaaksi's blog on his OSIM presentation, with links to the presentation slides, may be found here.

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