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Makers of a line of mobile internet devices that included the P8860, the first Intel-powered MID to be available worldwide in 2008, Aigo has just launched the N500, which is a bit of a departure in several areas compared to most of its previous MID offerings.

For starters, the device uses an ARM-based 806MHz Marvell PXA310+ processor powering the Maemo OS, rather than an Intel Atom running Moblin. This makes the N500, ironically possessing a very Nokia-esque name, the second non-Nokia device to run Maemo, the first being the very similar Optima OP5-E. Going beyond the capabilities of most other MIDs, Aigo has packed the N500 full of additional functionality creating a really versatile mobile device, including telephone communications and GPS.

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The aigo N500's phone interface 

The N500 has a 4.3-inch WVGA resistive touch screen, 128MB DDR RAM, 256MB ROM, b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, 3G (EVDO) voice and data connectivity, GPS, VGA webcam, 3.2MP back facing camera, and a high capacity 2600mAh li-on battery.

Although the specification seems similar to a high-level smartphone, Aigo still classifies the device as a MID due to its larger size and heavier weight of 11.3 ounces. Early reports indicate the device has very good performance and the touch screen is responsive and easy to use with either finger input or the provided stylus. The build quality is also said to be very good, with the white casing having a textured matte finish and a polished metallic border around the edge of the front.

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If you haven't noticed, the N500 and Optima OP5-E both possess nearly identical specifications, though I'm uncertain whether this is coincidence or a result of a collaboration between the two companies.

As with the Optima, I think the N500 has a lot of potential with its good hardware specification, myriad features, and the promising Maemo OS. It is on sale in China now for 3999 RMB, which works out to around US$586. Could this be the start of a building wave of non-Nokia Maemo MID devices?

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3G SIM card slot and battery compartment

[PConline]