Nokia's New Mobile OS: Maemo Harmattan

| May 19, 2009 | Reply

In an interview about a couple of weeks back at the Nokia Developer Summit, David Rivas – Nokia VP, discussed the Nokia’s strategy for having multiple software platforms – basically stating that different devices need different OS for different tasks – not one OS fits the bill. The three major OS used by nokia are S40 which drives the “volume” division, S60 which drives the “value” and Maemo (built on Linux) for the internet tablets and “other interesting products”.

S60 for Value? This and the excerpt below sides with Eldar’s speculations about a month ago when we heard about the Nokia Nautilus and other new Nokia Touch screens, where Nokia maybe shifting S60 (or Symbian Foundation) into mid range/mass market handsets, and possibly have Linux reserved for the high end devices. Many, including myself, have been a little underwhelmed with S60 touch, especially  with the first ghastly demonstration – , it was embarrasing to be a Nokia fan – it had no optimisation for finger touch, it just looked like they slapped on a touch screen to normal S60 3rd edition. It’s evolved somewhat since then, as we have from both the 5800, N97 and even from the Samsung camp with the i8910 with S60 5th edition. However, it still lacks complete finger friendly optimisation, or really any new innovation – much of which is hampered by the fact that it is S60 with touch and has a lot of legacy and compatibility issues to deal with. The only real solution is to start from scratch. Much like what Palm has done with the Palm Pre and WebOS – delivering an unexpected dish of usability and intuitiveness to the table, last brought onto our plates by Apple’s iPhone.

Whilst we can go on to bash S60 5th edition for not being a completely dedicated touch UI, it maybe worth considering (or just hoping) that S60 touch is just an interim solution for Nokia’s REAL touch UI. Get some user base familiar with S60 touch, roll out some important services (Ovi) whilst silently working on what maybe Nokia’s game changer.

“Internet tablets and other interesting products we have maemo built on linux. Why are we building linux based software? Very clearly maemo has been a very important part of the product line, for tablets and such. But the thing that most people miss is that we’re in a unique position at Nokia and we’ve got very successful software platforms in S40 and S60 and it gives us the leeway to experiment a little. So I think the biggest benefit we have with maemo is that we start with a clean slate. We get to start without any legacy, without any support issues, to build the best possible software platform for the products that we are centering around maemo. That allows us to include new innovation, in a way that doesn’t/isn’t burdened by existing legacy. It’s actually a really exciting time right now for the maemo platform.”, David Rivas, Nokia VP.

So what exactly is the future for Symbian and Maemo? An integration of the two? Or is maemo just the testing platform for Nokia to reintegrate features back into Symbian? As for the future of Symbian, David Rivas states:

“Symbian is going to continue to leverage the benefits it has right now, the technical benefits and the market adoption benefits. It’s going to continue to add functionality and features as appropriate. I think we’re going to see multiprocessor support in symbian very very soon, and I think we’re gonna see fairly significant innovation in user interface over the next few months and years”

It’s possible that the Nokia’s next mobile OS: Maemo Harmattan, maybe just the dedicated touch UI Nokia fans have been waiting for. But 4th Quarter of 2010? That’s so far away. That’ll either just be too late for when other manufacturers have given us extremely mature outstanding UI or perhaps blow us away by changing yet again how people consider and use mobile phones.

We can’t really tell much from the screenshot other than the homescreen (if that’s what it is – ) is very widgets based. Much like the upcoming N97. It’s apparently  just one big vertically scrollable page – although I would have been more impressed if this was everything that could be seen in one glance, but that maybe a little too cluttered for some.


Via Mobile Crunch


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Category: Linux, Nokia, Rumours, Symbian

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]