This past weekend, we were invited to the launch of PUSH N900 at the One Dot Zero event in London, a design, hacking and modding competition organized by Nokia. The aim is to get creatives, designers, artists and hackers to work their way around the N900 (which is built on the Maemo platform) to connect the instrument to an object they love. Maemo is an open-source Linux-based operating system which is designed to run high-end Nokia mobile computers. The N900-Maemo pairing is the most powerful that Nokia have ever created, and according to them, as far as user interface is concerned, no stone was left unturned to make sure that the relationship between the software and users was as perfectly matched as possible.
The N900 has 32GB storage,Firefox as its main browser, and users will always be connected to the web via wireless broadband. Following the launch of PUSH N900, participants need to submit their written, visual or video submission by October 5th. Submissions will be judged by an expert panel and winners announced on October 25th. The winners will receive N900 devices, funding and support to build their idea, which will then be toured around the international Nokia flagship stores in Helsinki, London, Tokyo and New York in February/March 2010.
Design studio Tinker.it worked with Nokia and London digital agency Hyper to come up with a sample project for the launch – four objects inspired by the 80’s that hacked the N900. Built using the Arduino platform, they were extremely intriguing: a Speak and Spell which was used to text a message to a member of the audience, a Rolodex which identified a contact’s details after being manually spun and automatically pulled it up on the phone, an FM radio hack which identified any ‘80’s musician texted to the phone and then connected to Last.fm to pull up the relevant cover art as you tuned the radio to a station playing the selected artist’s music, and finally a View-Master which used the phone to create custom 3D photos. In a conversation with Tinker.it CEO Alex Deschamps-Sonsino after the demo, we were told that it took a group of 7 designers around 3 weeks to come up with the 4 objects – so with any luck, participants in PUSH N900 should be able to push the phone to its limits by October 5th.