Nokia’s latest Smartphone takes a giant leap into becoming a full-fledged handheld PC.
For your messaging needs, Nokia bundles the Mail for Exchange application which I had no issues syncing with my Exchange Server. Applications is, in fact, one of the best things about the N900 with plenty of them available from the Maemo store right away such as a VNC viewer and a Gameboy emulator. The Nokia Ovi store was not quite ready yet but that will also feature applications- I am really hoping that the twitter client Gravity comes up soon.
What does work amazingly well on the N900 is the web browser- hands down, it is the best browsing experience on a Smartphone. The higher screen resolution and support for flash makes the N900′s browsing experience as close to a desktop as you would currently get. For example, I could very easily open up Google Docs and create a document which is something the iPhone isn’t capable of. The history function is also pretty neat.
The 5 Megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus and a Dual LED flash is as good as any other N series device which means its great. I took the following shot using the camera of the N900 and as you can see, its turned out pretty impressive. Its a shot in the direction of the Palm Island from Nokia’s office in Dubai.
In summary, the N900 shows great potential but faults in three areas. First of all, the entire interface begs for a capacitive screen and although Nokia has tried hard to make it finger friendly, the likes of iPhone and Android with their fluid interface just put the N900 down. Secondly, while the N900 has transcended into being a computer, it has forgotten how to be a user-friendly “phone” – using it as a phone is tedious at times. Lastly, the accelerometer should work on a system level and not on an application level- I should be allowed to to read my text messages, emails or even surf the web holding the device in portrait mode. Competing platforms such as the iPhone, Android and even the Blackberry allow me to do that- no reason why Maemo shouldn’t.
This is the first Nokia Smartphone based on Maemo and I have a feeling that with software upgrades, the screen rotation and phone applications would probably be bettered with a software update but a capitative screen will obviously require new hardware. Nokia has been quite receptive about my feedback on the N900 and I have a feeling that it will mature nicely over time- especially with Maemo and Linux behind it. It’s a wonderful device if you’re a geek but it needs work to attract the average user.
The Nokia N900 is currently available across Nokia stores in the UAE for AED 3,000 (US$800).