Chris Davies, one of the developer on the SpeckNet project, has kindly reviewed the Nokia N900 for us. The mobile phone is one of the few devices which actually run linux on-the-go. Considering the recent interest in mobile/laptop convergence lately [cough] iPad it will become more and more interesting to see what the future of mobile is.
Incidentally, if you are interested in discussing the future of mobile, this month’s MoMoEdinburgh is on that exact topic! There might be some tickets still available…
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Being a gadget freak I was really looking forward to the Nokia N900 coming out and finally got my hands on one last month. But now I’ve sold it and Im back to my iPhone. And here’s why.
For those who don’t know about the N900 is Nokias recent go at shoving Linux on a modern mobile phone and shipping it out the the consumer. You can do everything on it but the mobile experience just isn’t as efficient as the likes of the iPhone. Being Linux and having regular updates this will be fixed, or at least improved, with future firmware hopefully.
Prime example of this problem: if I want to check my email with the iPhone its just 3 button actions and its downloading new emails; vs the N900 where its about 5 or 6 actions then take a minute or so to start downloading. This is partially down to the best awkward workaround as it doesnt handle gmail very well at the moment. Via the
standard method it tries to download all your gmail message which, with mine totalling several thousand, just isn’t gonna work.
If you want a computer on the move that you’ve got programs in mind to run on, then get the N900. If you want something built for on the move and want lots of mobile apps get the iPhone.
Now, one more thing is screen size. The one thing I was getting the N900 for was to watch movies and TV shows on the move. It does this fairly well other than, like the iPhone, the screen is just a bit too small. I spent a few hours on my N900 watching Terminator in the back seat of a car a few weeks back, which was fine, although it was a bit hard to see all the details and the general movement of the car grabbed my eyes attention just as much as the small screen. The small screen can also cause problems for web browsing as it tries to show a full webpage on an 3.5 inch screen. Can
see three potential solutions to this and they all come in the form of other handhelds as listed:
HTC HD2: Real nice mobile, with a nice big screen, only let down my having Windows Mobile. Would be better for on the move than N900 but lacking the iPhones apps (thats not to say Windows Mobile hasn’t got loads of apps as has been around for several years but most feel a bit dated).
Dell Streak : Another real nice mobile, with bigger screen. Only difference is could you live with Android, and will it fit in your pocket?
Moorestown Mobiles – LG GW990: If want the potential for the full x86 Linux experience, on a big 5inch 1024 screen, with hdmi out, then will be available via Intels new chip, firstly in the form of an LG unit coming out within the year.
Apple iPad/iSlate: Depending on size and if could be used as a mobile, could fix my issues with the small iPhone screen whilst retaining its apps.
And an N900 vid to finish it off:
The N900 is a good bit of hardware and in the right hands could probably get past my problems with it (e.g. setting up the right short cuts to better Linux apps, if installed yourself via command line, could get past email prob etc). I was able to install loads of cool things on it like Exult, Balders Gate, BBC emulator, Snes emulator, Jagged Allegiance 2, Warcraft 2 and Starcraft (ok, havent actually installed these two yet but its been done and instructions on line), and it plays all my media well especially when connected to a TV. Its just theyre all desktop apps so designed for ‘sit down and play’ rather than on the move like the iPhone’.
So my N900 now rests in the hands of a Linux bod who can put it to good use acting as a mini server in the corner of his pocket, and I’ll dig my old OQO out and have a quick play with windows in my pocket whilst dreaming of Moorestown 😉