The Linux-based Maemo operating system has always been found exclusively on Nokia devices from internet tablets like the N800 and N810 to the latest N900 smartphone. However, being Linux-based, most of the OS and its code is open source. That's why it was with some surprise this past summer that Pocketables first brought you the news of China-based Optima Technology's unveiling of the OP5-E, the first non-Nokia device to run the Maemo OS.
The slate-style MID was undergoing one last round of software tests the last time we saw it and now looks to be almost ready for launch in China. Optima is also looking for international distributors to bring it to foreign markets.
The Optima OP5-E still features a 4.3-inch WVGA resistive touch screen, an 806MHz Marvell PXA310 ARM-based processor, 128MB of RAM, 256MB of local storage, CDMA 3G connectivity, 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS, and a high capacity 2600mAh polymer li-on battery giving around 8 hours of battery life. It also has a 3.2MP rear camera, a VGA front-facing webcam, a microSD slot supporting up to 16GB, a mini-USB connection for charging as well as data transfer, and support for voice calls and SMS messaging using the supplied headset for the former.
Optima has also said an HSDPA version should be coming in the next month and that the device supports VoIP and instant messaging services, leaving it up to carriers to decide how these capabilities can be implemented.
The OP5-E should be available for around $500 unsubsidized, putting it in a similar price range with some of the leading smartphones such as the Motorola Droid. If supported by a carrier, we could expect it to be offered at a lower price with a 3G data plan.
A video by ARMdevices.net below provides a nice walkthrough of the hardware and software. Although the software seems to not yet be perfect requiring some further optimization, the hardware looks to be well designed and well made.
With all the Android and Windows MIDs coming out, I think this could be a very interesting entry into the MID space. The Maemo OS has a lot of potential and being open source could potentially give the device a greater range of capabilities and future development than most typical smartphones and MIDs.
The Optima OP5-E will certainly draw some comparisons against the Nokia N900 as they are both running the same operating system with similar capabilities, with the OP5-E being more of a MID with phone functionality because of its larger screen/dimensions and headset requirement to make calls. But with its lower price, could the OP5-E be a cheaper N900 for the masses?ARMdevices.net via I4U]