Finally, DoubleDT.Com had a chance to play around at the length with the latest pre-production version of Nokia’s N900, which is based on the Maemo platform. For almost three years, Apple’s iPhone has become the standard icon for mainstream smartphones. Undoubtedly, Apple has taken over a large portion of the smartphone market. No wonder if smartphone manufacturers are taking the iPhone threat seriously and bringing out new devices to try to compete.
One smartphone that looks like it has a real chance to compete with the Apple’s iPhones is Nokia’s new N900 smartphone. The Nokia N900 was launched at Nokia World on 2 September 2009 and was released on 11 November 2009 in the US and 9 European countries. The phone runs Maemo 5 Linux as its OS and is the 1st Nokia device based upon the TI OMAP3 microprocessor with ARM Cortex-A8 core.
Usually, when Nokia launches an N-series announcement, the geek world trembles with excitement; expecting to see the next master of the multimedia realm. Well, Nokia N900 did not make any exception to this rule though it was pitched for its web browsing prowess more than anything else.
Although it is still quite raw and feature-incomplete, Maemo 5 is by far has been claimed as the most user-friendly version of the platform to date, if for no other reason than the fact that it is very pretty. Screen transitions are look great and smooth, the home screen is as versatile and attractive as any widget-based home screen on the market today, and the Expose-style task switcher is a welcome addition. Soon after it was first demoed, the Nokia N900 was quickly deemed a serious peril to most smartphones out there. It even went as far as threatening Nokia’s own Symbian platform.
The Nokia N900 may very well offer the best browsing experience (a desktop-class browser in a device of this size and form factor) of any smartphone on the market nowadays, which is including the Apple’s iPhone. Apple has claimed that with its iPhone, you can get the full Internet, but the iPhone still does not support Flash, which is a technology found on many websites and used extensively for embedded video. Well, the Nokia N900 supports Flash files embedded in pages - Youtube, Flash games and other websites work just as they would on a PC. Moreover, since the browser on the Nokia N900 is based on Mozilla Firefox, it can able to be extended with add-ons. Add-ons such as Adblock Plus are already available for the Nokia N900.
Nokia’s fans can be so proud to hear that with Nokia N900, you can run as many applications as you want simultaneously, just like on your PC. On the other hand, the iPhone can only offer to run one application at a time; you cannot listen to music via the last.fm application and use another application at the same time.
As DoubleDT.Com had mentioned above, this is a pretty raw smartphone. Basic features like MMS and portrait mode are not supported. MMS will not be a big deal for many users, but being forced to use the Nokia N900’s non-smartphone functions in landscape is a pretty big deal.
The Nokia N900 comes with dual-cameras. DoubleDT.Com can assure you that it will not disappoint you. The first is a 5MP Carl Zeiss autofocus camera with dual LED flash, but do not expect miracles when taking snaps in dark bars and restaurants. By default, it will take 3.5MP snaps. It crops the top and bottom to give a widescreen aspect picture. Well, you can change it to 5MP in options. Additionally, the Nokia N900 features a front-facing VGA webcam. This should be very useful for things like video blogging and video calls.
The Nokia N900 may have an “excellent” resistive touchscreen. However, it is still a resistive touchscreen that means it is not going to be as finger-friendly as it could be. For example, you may disappoint by how much pressure that required to actuate scrolling gestures in menus. Thing is, the Nokia N900 is a smartphone where we can see many users still preferring to have access to a stylus from time to time for precision input, and that being said, this is probably about as good of a resistive screen-display as Nokia is capable of manufacturing.
Well, no device is perfect. However, undoubtedly, the Nokia N900 has a sharp screen, great at web browsing, fast at multitasking, incredible at taking and sharing snaps, and nicely integrates accounts in the phonebook. It seems that most of the user’s activity will be on the browser. There is no need to tell you that the Nokia N900 is the device that gives you a powerful Internet tablet, which makes calls and takes great snaps too. Moreover, it is open to more customizations, applications, and plug-ins that potentially make it better.
Finally yet importantly, is the Nokia N900 the best phone to have nowadays? Well, it seems that it is not an easy question to answer because there is not one perfect phone. It depends on what you need. If you need a device that can offer a good web browser and an excellent built-in camera, then the Nokia N900 is the best choice for you. On the other hand, if applications or music is crucial matter to you, then look elsewhere.
Nokia N900’s specifications:
- General: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, UMTS 900/1700/2100 MHz, HSDPA 10 Mbps, HSUPA 2Mbps
- Processor: ARM Cortex-A8 600 MHz, PowerVR SGX graphics
- Operating System: Maemo 5 Linux
- Screen-Display: 3.5″ 16M-color TFT resistive touchscreen, 800 x 480 pixels WVGA
- Camera: 5MP auto-focus camera with dual-LED flash; WVGA(848 x 480)@25fps video recording
- Memory: 32 GB storage, 256 MB RAM, microSD card slot
- Dimensions: 110.9 x 59.8 x 18 mm, 113 cc; 181 g
- Form factor: Full touch device with a side-sliding hardware QWERTY keyboard
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, USB v2.0 with microUSB port, GPS receiver with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, FM radio, FM transmitter, Infrared port
- Software: Ovi Maps (voice-guided navigation purchased separately), Mozilla-based browser with Adobe Flash 9.4 support, Facebook & Twitter integration
- Battery: 1,320 mAh Li-Ion battery
- Others: Built-in accelerometer & ambient light sensors, proximity sensor, IR output port for remote control
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