Nokia yesterday began shipping its most advanced smartphone, the Maemo 5-powered N900, in its latest effort to get traction at the top end of the handset market.
Research firm Strategy Analytics also revealed yesterday that Apple has powered past Nokia to become the world's most profitable handset vendor.
The N900 will be available in European, Middle-Eastern and North American stores this month for an estimated €500 , Nokia said.
The device aims to blur the lines between a desktop computer and a smartphone, with an ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 32 GB of storage and up to 1GB of total application memory.
Nokia vice president Jose-Luis Martinez said the handset was aimed at the early adopter market – “people who are passionate about technology.”
Blogsite GigaOm observes that Maemo 5 platform appears to be Nokia’s best hope for the long-term.
“Nokia is in desperate need of a high-end, web-friendly handset that can compete with the iPhone.” It is losing ground in the US, has watched Apple, RIM and others close the gap in Europe, and “will surely lose substantial ground to Android in the next few months as Google’s mobile OS gains traction.”
This came to a head in Q3 when Apple's iPhone division recorded operating profits of $1.6 billion, dwarfing Nokia's total operating profit of $1.1 billion, research firm Strategy Analytics revealed.
Apple's figures are skewed by the popularity of its app store, and the often unusually high margins on iPhone sales, but have undoubtedly been boosted by the iPhone's expanding share of the smartphone market.
According to IDC, Nokia is still the biggest player in the global smartphone market. But Apple is rapidly catching up, with a 17% share compared to Nokia's 37%.