[ubuntu-uk] Nokia phone running open source

Jamie Bennett jamie at linuxuk.org
Wed Oct 14 21:18:39 BST 2009

On Wed, 2009-10-14 at 16:40 +0100, Matt Jones wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 4:31 PM, Paul Roach <roachy at roachy.net> wrote:
> > Hash: SHA1
> >
> > Never mind - found it on mobilephonesdirect.co.uk on Vodafone and
> > T-Mobile, free on a 24 month contract :)

Right, back on a decent keyboard, long journey and long story but back
to the n900.


Hardware is fast (the ARM processor is a powerhouse) and you can pretty
much do what you would expect from a 'mini-computer', kind of comparable
to a low end netbook although the n900 can play back hi-def material. It
has video out which is very nice and a reasonable amount of storage
space (funny story, we ran out of space for storing the talk sessions
video recordings at the Maemo Summit so we used n900's to hold it all). 

The software is a huge step up from the n8x0 devices, much slicker and
more appealing on the eye. The likes of the bounce game really give a
glimpse of what this platform is capable of and with the OVI store
allowing paid content for maemo devices I expect you will see some
commercial vendors jump on-board.

The usual ssh, FTP, <insert your favourite Linux app> will probably work
just fine.

OK, enough gushing, the bad. There are still some software faults, it is
pre-production after all and the great team at Nokia will probably iron
a lot of them out before or shortly after release. But the things that
worry me cannot be sorted in software alone. For instance I've mentioned
the form factor, much too large for my tastes but each to their own.
There's also the fact that GPS can take up to 10 minutes to find a fix
unassisted by the wifi network (the 10 minutes comes from Nokia), the
slider and stand around the camera seem good candidates for an early
accident, I can't type very well on the hardware keyboard without using
the edge of my nails e.t.c.

Software faults that maybe fixed, kinetic scroll is sometimes erratic,
it can scroll slow, fast or even select what you touched instead. Wifi
doesn't turn off when idle (or at least I can't find the option for it)
so if you forget to do it after a browsing session be warned your
battery is emptying fast. Seemingly obvious options are buried in
obscure menus, OVI maps is next to useless for mapping, only one google
calendar can be synced, the whole app software stack will have to be
rewritten on a case-by-case basis if you want portrait mode (browser
gets it by christmas I'm assured), you get the idea.

Go to the Nokia store when they get them, have a play and think what you
really want it for and if it fits that need. If it does then great, go
buy one.


Jamie Bennett

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