Maemo is an open-source software platform primarily designed for smartphones and tablet computers. Developed by Nokia, it is based on the Linux operating system and incorporates components of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. The primary goal of Maemo is to enable the creation of powerful, flexible, and user-friendly mobile applications and devices.

Key Takeaways

  1. Maemo is an open-source operating system based on Linux, primarily designed for mobile devices and smart internet devices like Nokia’s N810 and N900.
  2. It offers a flexible and customizable user interface, optimized for multitasking and providing a Linux desktop-like experience on mobile devices.
  3. Maemo has evolved into MeeGo, a joint project by Intel, Nokia, and Linux, which further developed into Tizen and Sailfish OS, continuing the legacy of Maemo’s open-source approach and mobile device support.


The technology term Maemo is important because it represents a significant milestone in the development of open-source mobile operating systems.

It was a key early platform powered by Linux, specifically designed for Nokia’s Internet Tablets and smartphones.

It allowed developers to create a variety of innovative applications and extend the functionality of these devices.

Additionally, Maemo’s open-source nature facilitated collaboration and knowledge sharing among developers, paving the way for future advancements in mobile technology.

Its influence is still visible today, as it laid the foundation for modern mobile operating systems like Android and helped shape the current mobile software landscape.


Maemo is a software platform primarily designed to power mobile devices with the aim of providing a sophisticated and efficient user experience. Built on an open-source framework, it is based on the Debian Linux distribution and utilizes the versatile GTK+ framework for creating applications, ensuring simplicity and compatibility with numerous other operating systems.

Launched primarily for Nokia’s Internet Tablets such as the N810 and N900, Maemo is tailored to cater to handheld computing needs, including web browsing, multimedia playback, and document editing, as well as GPS navigation and communication functionalities, showcasing an advanced level of flexibility for a mobile operating system of its time. Despite being Linux-based, Maemo’s purpose extends beyond that of a basic Linux distribution by emphasizing a more user-friendly interface and a smoother access to applications for its users.

To achieve this, it incorporates the Hildon framework as its Graphical User Interface (GUI), enabling applications to be well-adapted for touchscreens and stylus-driven operations. Maemo’s open-source nature encourages software developers to create, modify, and share applications with ease, thus contributing to a constantly growing ecosystem and staying relevant in the rapidly evolving technological landscape.

Offering a rich set of features that cater to both general users and developers, Maemo remains an integral part of the history of mobile operating systems and its impact can be observed in the development of modern-day platforms.

Examples of Maemo

Nokia N900: The Nokia N900 smartphone, released in 2009, was the first device to run on the Maemo 5 operating system, also known as Fremantle. This device featured a slide-out QWERTY keyboard,

5-inch touchscreen, 5MP camera, 32 GB of storage, and a robust multitasking capability, as well as a range of pre-installed applications and support for additional Linux-based apps. The N900 proved to be popular among developers and technology enthusiasts for its open-source nature and customization potential.

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet: Released in 2007 as a portable internet browsing device, the Nokia N810 ran on the Maemo 4 operating system, also known as Chinook. The N810 featured a

13-inch touchscreen, a full QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, integrated GPS, and support for various internet services like Skype and YouTube. The device was designed primarily for web browsing and communication, rather than conventional phone functions, which helped establish the Maemo platform as a flexible software solution for internet-oriented devices.

Maemo Community and Development: Maemo’s open-source nature led to a highly engaged community of developers and users who would build custom apps and modifications for the platform. As a result, the Maemo platform saw numerous applications, software updates, and custom firmware created by the community, enabling the growth and customization of the Maemo ecosystem. This strong community involvement in development contributed to the success of the platform and led to many advancements in features and functionality, making Maemo devices even more versatile and attractive to users.

Maemo FAQ

What is Maemo?

Maemo is an open-source, Linux-based operating system developed by Nokia primarily for its Internet Tablet devices. It is designed to provide an optimal user experience on touch-screen devices and is highly customizable, offering users the ability to add applications, widgets, and plugins.

What devices are compatible with Maemo?

Maemo was initially developed for Nokia Internet Tablets, such as the Nokia 770, N800, and N810. Later, Nokia introduced the Maemo-powered N900 smartphone. Maemo is not officially supported on other devices, but some developers have ported it to other hardware platforms.

How do I install applications on a Maemo device?

To install applications on Maemo devices, you can use the built-in Application Manager. The Application Manager connects to the Maemo repositories, allowing you to browse and install a wide range of applications, utilities, and plugins. You can also manually install .deb packages using a terminal or file manager.

Is Maemo still being developed?

Official development of Maemo by Nokia has ceased, as the company shifted its focus to other platforms. However, the Maemo community continues to maintain and develop the operating system, with the latest version being “Maemo Leste,” a community-driven project that aims to provide updates, improvements, and bug fixes.

What is the difference between Maemo and MeeGo?

MeeGo is a Linux-based operating system that emerged from the merger of Maemo and Intel’s Moblin project. While both operating systems are designed for touchscreen devices and have a similar user interface, MeeGo aimed to support a wider range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and in-vehicle infotainment systems. MeeGo has since been discontinued and replaced by the Tizen platform.

Related Technology Terms

  • Nokia N900
  • Linux-based Operating System
  • Hildon Application Framework
  • Mer Project
  • Sailfish OS

Sources for More Information

  • – The official Maemo Community website
  • Wikipedia – Maemo Wikipedia page for detailed information
  • Linux Journal – Major Linux and open-source technology publication that may have articles on Maemo
  • XDA Developers – A popular forum for mobile device development, including discussions about Maemo

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