Nokia has to do something big if it wants to crack the US smartphone market. We can agree on that, right? And believe us, Nokia wants this -- nothing will make the mighty Finns (and the company's global investors) prouder than to gain some traction in the home of Apple pie and Google desserts. So how will the company do it? With Symbian? Oh, hell no. By introducing another MeToo handset? Nope, with MeeGo on a rockin' platform like the rumored N9 slider pictured above.

Nokia announced its hardware plans for Maemo 6 a long time ago. At that time, the company was clear that it would continue using TI OMAP processors. Much has changed since then, however. In addition to several key leadership changes including a new Canadian-born CEO who spent much of his time working in the US, Nokia has joined Intel to roll up Maemo 6 and Moblin into MeeGo with Nokia's first Maemo 6 MeeGo/Harmattan handset pushed into 2011. Simultaneously, Intel has also been doing its best to show its new Moorestown platform as a powerful ARM alternative, even showing off MeeGo handsets exploiting a Lincroft SoC and Atom processor core. And Intel has said that Medfield-based smartphones (Moorestown's successor) would arrive in the middle of 2011.

So why the build-up? Well, we've just been tipped to a claim by Prosessori, a respected Finnish technology magazine, that the Nokia N9 will launch with a 1.2GHz Atom processor. Better yet, it could be unveiled as soon as Mobile World Congress in February, presumably during Stephen Elop's keynote. Do we believe it? Not entirely, but it is possible given the chain of events that have taken place. And you can bet that the first commercially available Intel smartphone with a brand new Nokia user experience would certainly grab headlines in the US and around the world. Something that should translate into high-end market share (and profits) if it's as "exciting" as Elop claims.

[Thanks, Janne]

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Nokia N9 to bust loose with MeeGo on Intel Atom power?