Nokia will not customize the N900 for carriers

Nokia will not alter the software of its new high-end, Linux-based smartphone, the N900, to meet the desires of specific wireless carriers.  This move could limit the device's distribution if operators decide against stocking the device and, more importantly, subsidizing it.

Update: Nokia contends it will allow for carrier customization. Click here for the updated story.

"Very clearly Apple, Android ... are a whole lot less about providing customization to the operators and a whole lot more about providing a really cool, compelling value proposition to the end-consumer," David Rivas, Nokia's vice president for devices R&D, told Reuters. "We have an opportunity, that we are going to take advantage of, with Maemo platform to play the game a little bit more along those lines than with Symbian lines."

Nokia plans to continue to modify its Symbian platform based on operator requests, but will retain control over its Linux-based Maemo platform.

The decision could compound Nokia's problems in the United States. Though it is still the world's largest smartphone maker by market share, the company has a relatively weak U.S. smartphone presence. The N900 is currently on pre-sale in the United States for $649, and could technically work on T-Mobile USA's network. However, neither Nokia nor T-Mobile have indicated that the carrier will sell the device.

Indeed, wireless carriers control the lion's share of the North American cell phone market, and carrier support is generally considered critical to any major gadget launch.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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Article modified Sept. 11 to include Nokia's comments.