Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nokia N900 caught in the wild

Here you have it, Nokia's N900 in real world usage. Turns out my officemate Atan has had one in his pocket for a while now. I took some photos of the device and interviewed him on his thoughts about life with an N900.
As with all things, there's a story behind the N900. You see, Nokia's currently caught between a rock and a hard place. Its Symbian operating system is wildly popular at the moment, so abandoning it would be nothing short of madness. At the same time, the small improvements Nokia has been making to Symbian can't hope to help it compete with the smartphone operating systems of today: iPhone OS, Android, WinMo 7, and WebOS. What are the Finns to do?

Maemo to the rescue. It's a funny name, but Nokia's answer is an open operating system based on Linux, which will give Maemo devices the ability to run sophisticated apps. Right now, Nokia's not ready to abandon Symbian, but that hasn't stopped them from experimenting with Maemo on the N900. This could very well be the future of Nokia phones… Or it could be a high tech dead-end. It's too early to say.

Touched for the very first time
I played with the N900 for a while and it was pretty responsive. There's a QWERTY keypad tucked behind the touchscreen, but I often catch my friend answering texts via the touchpad using two thumbs. I can't even text with two thumbs on my iPhone...

Surfing the web
The N900 is perhaps a MID (Mobile Internet Device) more than anything else. It runs Firefox and it cuts no corners in delivering you the worldwide web. Yes ladies and gents, you get the full Internet experience, complete with Flash.

Ooh! A kickstand!

Where are the apps?
Unfortunately, there are few apps available. So if you want that super specific app that scratches that itch in your life, chances are it doesn't exist yet. And you'll have to wait for the Linux geeks to make it for you. Or if you're one of those Linux geeks, you'll have to make it on your own.

Lack of Maemo support makes buying a Nokia N900 at this point a dodgy proposition. But for P27,000 you get a touchscreen phone with one of the best Internet experiences you can find on any mobile device. For now, the N900 is probably a phone for the nerds out there, but expect to see more of Maemo in the future...

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