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Nokia WILL ALLOW Carrier Customization Of The N900

Friday, 11 September 2009 00:00

Written by Chris McFann

n900_vodaThere has been a pretty shocking and viral statement about Nokia not allowing carriers to customize the N900, Nokia's upcoming uberdevice. As we'd even reported here based on a report from Reuters, it was thought that Nokia would not allow the carrier to molest the Maemo monster in any way, a sort of stand for the consumer and the N900's open nature.

This brought a shock to the entire community. Nokia had been almost entirely locked out of the US market because of bad relations with the carrier cartels, and has been feverishly working to improve that standing by working closer with them. With this news, carriers may not carry the N900 at all.

It seemed almost counterproductive, and a bold move to publicly make in light of the circumstances and recent history. IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo was quite surprised himself, stating, "I don’t believe Nokia can afford to say no to customization. For N900 to succeed on the market Nokia has to approve any service operator wants to run on the phone." Turns out he was probably right.

First of all, if you read the quote from David Rivas, Nokia VP for Devices R&D that started the whole mess in the first place, you'll notice his comments got taken out of context in the midst of being spread across the web. Here is his statement:

“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. 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.”

Notice he didn't say "we won't be allowing ANY customizing." He simply said there would be LESS of a focus on customization, and more on bringing value to the consumer. In a post on Nokia Conversations, Editor in Chief Phil Schwarzmann put the rumor totally to rest with this simple and enlightening explanation:

"As we have said over the past couple of weeks, our plan with Maemo is to focus on the consumer experience – integrating applications and services from Nokia, our broad community of developers and publishers and, of course, from our operator customers. While we have not announced immediate plans to offer an operator variant for the N900, there are many customization points for operators on the N900. It would be absolutely incorrect to assume that we will not offer operators the ability to tailor future Maemo devices to suit their needs."

So from the sound of things, Maemo will allow opportunities for carriers to differentiate and tailor the N900 and future Maemo kit to their liking. This doesn't mean they will allow removal of features or addition of bloatware, but it could mean something as useful as the coupling of services from the Ovi umbrella with carrier offerings, custom applications built for specific carriers, or something as simple as carrier themed wallpapers for the desktop.

Either way, Nokia is more than willing to work with carriers on the N900. So carrier support for the N900 looks alot better now that the truth is out. Now all I need is for TMobileUSA to wake up and realize some of its subscribers are starving for an uberdevice, and the N900 fits the bill.

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