Nokia to use Linux for flagship N-series phones

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia Oyj will use Linux MeeGo software in its N-series lineup, hoping the new platform will give it a better chance to battle against rivals such as Apple Inc and Google Inc.

The N-series has been Nokia’s crown jewel for years and it dominated the smartphone market before Apple’s iPhone was introduced in 2007.

Nokia’s next flagship smartphone, the N8, will be the last N-series phone running Symbian software. Symbian remains the market leader for smartphones, but has lost market share in recent years with the rise of the iPhone.

“Going forward, N-series devices will be based on MeeGo,” said Nokia spokesman Doug Dawson.

Nokia and Intel Corp in February unveiled plans to create MeeGo, merging Nokia’s Linux Maemo software platform with Intel’s Moblin, which is also based on Linux open-source software.

“The confirmation that MeeGo will be used for the next flagship Nseries device shows Nokia is betting the ranch on this platform to beat high-end rivals such as Apple’s iPhone,” said Ben Wood, research director at British consultancy CCS Insight.

Versions of the Linux operating system -- also including Google’s Android, operator-backed LiMo and Palm’s webOS -- have won increased share of the mobile device market.

In the first quarter the total market share of Linux phones rose to 14 percent from 8.5 percent a year ago, according to Gartner.

Linux is the most popular type of open-source computer operating system available to the public. Its direct rival on PCs is Microsoft, which charges for its Windows software and opposes freely sharing its code.

Editing by David Holmes