Hands on with the Nokia N900
We rush to judgement
First Look Announced last week, the N900 finally gives Nokia something competitive in the high-end market, and offers a great deal for developers to get excited about. I had a hands on today and came away with fairly positive impressions, for an iPhone user. But more importantly, Nokia has a roadmap that takes it into the next decade.
Qt will become the API across Nokia devices, which means developers might actually start writing applications for them. Qt is much easier for quick and dirty applications, and proven for heavyweights such as Google Earth, Opera and Skype, where high performance is a necessity.
The Linux stack Maemo looks set to blossom into a range of high-end products, Nokia VP Anssi Vanjoki made very clear today. Symbian will fill the mass-market stubbornly occupied by S40 at present. It will continue to be used for "workhorse smartphones" Nokia says, but Linux is where the investment for high performance devices will now go.
The N900 is the first tablet to fit a shirt pocket. It's heavy, and still a bit nerdy, but it looks more of a 'flagship' than anything Nokia has thrown at the market in the past couple of years. As Vanjoki all but admitted, the N97 was badly in need of a patch-up - he stressed how quickly Nokia was working to address criticism.
But tweaks and patches won't update the two-year-old technology in the device, nor give it a forward-looking UI, which is what Maemo 5 finally offers. So the N900 has some of the glitz and slickness of Android, the iPhone and the Pré. After five minutes, most users should find their way around.
Nokia's inclusion of cellular telephony has surprised quite a few people. Motorola has thrown thousands of bodies at Linux, without much to show for the effort. A year ago, Linux still couldn't handle UMTS 3G. Meanwhile, the Nokia Internet Tablet has zig-zagged through three generations: first it was internet radio and browsing, then it sprouted a keyboard and was a GPS device.
Is it a tablet? Is it a phone? Both?
The Tablet series looked like a technology looking for a purpose. But too many people asked for the 3G capability for Nokia to ignore, Maemo chief Ari Jaaksi told us.
compared to E90.....
I've been using an E90 on Vodafone UK for the past 18 months and will never leave a full Qwerty keyboard. Brilliant phone for work and play; Mail for Exchange works brilliantly as well as POP3 and IMAP. Shame there's no dedicated numeric keys. And same that they haven't adopted the lovely very responsive E90 keys. Thankfully it has a stylus so fat fingers can cope. I don't know enough about Maemo OS but I'm a little worried that the application source will be limited to a few, whereas S60/3rdEd is more widespread, especially due to the many Java app databases out there for S60. Can anybody help with that? Is Maemo5 big enough to be developed enough to combat S60 handsets? Charging via USB....so I don't have a choice about creating a data connection to a PC? Or is it a mains charger?
yes it does have a vibe
"Virbrating alert (internal)" says http://maemo.nokia.com/n900/specifications/
(of couse that page also says "Full QWERTY tactile keyboard" which is a joke.
It will be interesting to see ...
... how this fares. Seems that the success of the Apple iPhone delivered Nokia a desperately needed kick in the nuts about the importance software in their business ... then again reading the T&Cs at Forum Nokia (the acceptance of which is somewhat stealthily made a pre-condtion for obtaing the development tools) makes one wonder whether they in fact want to attract or repel 3rd party developers.