But what does that concretely mean and what will it bring to the final user?
Well, just like its little brothers, the Nokia N800 and N810, the N900 runs on a Maemo OS and embarks a built in version of Skype which is totally integrated into the phone’s operating system, with no extra downloads required. You can make free Skype-to-Skype calls and instant messaging on 3G or WiFi, and call phones abroad at great, low rates. And that’s where the revolution is!
Before the Nokia N900 was launched, Skype’s VoIP function on mobile phones could not be fully enjoyed, as mobile phone operators in some countries put some limitations to the use of VoIP on their networks as it was competing against their own services. Those guys were not ready to see their customers spend less bucks into their monthly mobile phone contracts!
From a business point of view, this is legitimate. From a consumer point of view, that clearly sucks!
The Maemo software has now been running for some time on Nokia’s Internet Tablet such as the Nokia N770, N800 and N810 and it has turned to be a viable solution for new generation mobile phones (i.e.: using a “Home” screen as the central point from which all applications and settings are accessed). But the BIG feature those three tablet were missing vs the N900 was the ability to communicate using mobile networking protocols like 3G. Only WiFi and Bluetooth were available then. They were Internet Tablets, not mobile phones.
As for mobile phones running on a Symbian OS, they had 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth, but no integrated version of Skype. SkypeLite, the version of Skype for mobile phones, was only running in a limited number of countries. The only alternative available to VoIP lovers who were not living in Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, the United States and the UK, was to download a third-party software like Nimbuzz or Gizmo to enjoy from free phone calls.
Today, the N900 blends the very best of Nokia’s mobile phone technology, Maemo and Skype software to deliver a fine mobile device that will probably help you cut on your monthly phone bill (say good bye to your monthly mobile phone bill!) thanks to its integrated VoIP feature running on 3G and WiFi.
You’ll just need an unlimited monthly data contract (I pay 4€ monthly for a 1Go data contract), or a wiFi connection, and your Nokia N900 to call the world from anywhere for free or almost, and save on your mobile phone bill!
Mark Douglas, Skype product manager for the N900, reveals more in the video below