This category will cover everything that we have experienced with this phone and all of its ups and downs. Prior to this phone, we had been running Windows Mobile on an HTC Touch Pro in conjunction with a Tmobile G1 running donut. We did this mostly to give ourselves an experience with the other OSes prior to this one. While we do know that donut is not Eclair or Froyo they are still fundamentally the same OS. First Use
The first thing that we approached when getting this device going for a review was the fact that our review sample had been running PR 1.1 which was already an outdated firmware version and that Nokia had just rolled out an update to PR 1.2. Supposedly 1.2 was going to fix many of the issues that 1.1 had and this made sense to us to review the device running 1.2. Upon doing so, we attempted an OTA update. This failed. We then proceeded to attempt an update using the Nokia updating utility. This also failed. The only way we actually had successful managed to flash the device with the new firmware was to download it from the maemo.org repositories
and then run a flasher utility and run a series of commands in the phone’s terminal to successfully flash the device. In our opinion, this was not the way that a consumer should have to flash a finished device to a publically available OS update.
For those unfamiliar, the N900 runs on Nokia’s proprietary OS called Maemo 5
which is a Linux based operating system that is ONLY used on the N900 and not on any other device in the world. This is probably one of the device’s biggest benefits and pitfalls. Because of this, the device has a very dedicated community www.maemo.org who work very hard together to help develop applications and fixes for any bugs. Now, here comes the problem. Nokia has effectively left the community feeling like they have to fend for themselves. To this point, the N900 STILL does not have basic MMS functionality, 9 months later. In addition to this, Nokia introduced the development of Meego
in conjunction with Intel back in February. In addition to that, they stated that the N900 would NOT be ported commercially over to Meego. This effectively put the nail in the Maemo 5 coffin before it even really had a chance to get going. Nokia stated that they would put their full force behind Meego and that they would be going Meego looking forward. The only problem was that that Meego essentially performed the same functions of Maemo. It was a Smartphone and MID operating system for high-end devices. Once Meego launched, Maemo would be obsolete. The worst part in all of this was the fact that the N900 is basically the only publically available existing development platform for the smartphone based Meego. This is because there are no currently announced Meego based handsets from any manufacturers and Meego was supposed to be used in conjunction with Intel and their Moorestown which currently has no major handset manufacturers using it. In our opinion, Meego was a good idea but because its tied between Intel and Nokia it causes somewhat of a dilemma. Does Intel push for Meego usage with all of their Moorestown chips? Or do they stick with Moblin? Intel is a big part of Meego and if they don’t make a decision it could hurt the development of such an OS in the future. But that’s for an entirely different article.
Getting back to the N900… Nokia has their own marketplace that they’ve been using for quite some time with their Symbian phones and has had a decent amount of success. The only problem is, this same marketplace [Ovi Store
] that is used for the N900 has almost no applications. And when I say almost no applications, I mean fewer than the Windows Mobile Marketplace; That few. Nokia has promised to populate the Ovi store for months and it still really hasn’t happened. It’s gotten to a point where the Maemo forums create a new thread every time a new application has been added. This leaves the community almost entirely responsible for creating applications and testing those applications. Because of this, there are various repositories on the maemo.org website that enable developers to publicly release testing versions as well as finished versions of their applications. This is a great thing because it enables community generated applications that cater to the community’s needs. This has both upsides and downsides as it reduces the quantity of applications but improves their quality and effectiveness for their market.
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