Just got myself a new phone, Nokia N900 – this notes will contain a review of the phone, as well as the setup & tinkering I’ve done with this phone.
After trying this for about 2 weeks now, I understand why they say that the N900 is not a smartphone. It is really more like a laptop that’s been shrunk (barely) to the size of a mobile handset.
- N900 is neither geared for business nor pleasure – After using this, the impression I get is that N900 is simply a very powerful device that can be has very high tweakability scale on it. In doing so, for people who knows their stuff and willing to do the tinkering, N900 can be configured to do almost all anything.
- Form factor – The phone is heavy and bulky compared to BlackBerry 9700, iPhones or the iPhone-clones (HTC desire, samsung Galaxy). It’s got a capacitive screen that can slide upwards to reveal a 3-row qwerty keyboard.
- The operating system running on N900 is not the bread and butter Symbian OS – but rather the brand new Linux-based Maemo 5. I have been using Linux extensively since my university days – and for a Linux OS, Maemo is very pretty. The n900 it being a Linux device would means that the OS inherits not only the Linux power, but also the Linux culture. Whether this is a good or bad thing is entirely up to you.
Firstly you want to get familiar with the device. This is a very good overview video:
The first thing you want to do with your n900 is to enable maemo-extra catalog. Following suit from the Linux community, applications in n900 are organized into catalogues (or repositories). By adding more catalogues, you will be able to have access to more varieties of apps. The maemo-extra ones are apps that are not 100% certified to be bullet-proof, but are generally good enough for public use.
Here’s relevant how-to:
Sync and enrich Contact
Contact can be backed up using Nokia OVI Suite – contact data can be enriched using a great app called Hermes.
It’s an app that can scour social networks like Facebook or Twitter and attempt to pull as much information about your contacts as possible. Things like phone number, e-mails, contact picture, will be merged right in.
Managing the e-mail is very easy , tap on the Email> and create New Account. I think the e-mail experience in this phone is superbly excellent. The POP3 and SMTP server settings for Google Mail can be found here
Instant messaging support in this phone is crazy. You can maintain presence in Google talk, MSN, Skype, Facebook, and with the arrival of Pidgin, you can reach even more networks than what was natively supported (if that was your thing). SMS works like instant messaging conversation.
Calendar / Task
The default calendar that comes with the OS is powerful enough for my daily needs. I am very organised, and I rely quite a lot on my phone’s calendar to make sure that I haven’t missed anything.
- Manage calendar (add, edit, delete)
Calendar > Settings > Edit Calendars – you can edit & delete calendars here as well as change color indicator for different calendar. Local calendar don’t get synced, so I used my local calendar to store my regularly repeating task, and sync calendar to store my once off task. There’s a default calendar called n900 which can’t be deleted, and is the default calendar that get synced.
- Sync to Outlook
I found NOKIA OVI to be the best means to sync to your local Outlook. Once in outlook, there are various other tools available to sync it elsewhere.
there is Google Sync that can sync your local Outlook to Google Calendar, for example.
I found the default widget by n900 is not good enough. Get Home Calendar Widget.
I have distilled my browser preference to either Opera Mini or MicroB, he default browser that came with the phone. The n900 offers the most powerful web browser to date. For instance, no special Facebook app is required, because the full website works as-is using the default browser.
Browser Switchboard – if you have multiple browser, you can use this app to control which one gets used as the default.
- Use witter for twitter.
- I use the web browser to access Facebook as-is. The web browser is extremely powerful.
Get Droid Fonts and Font Changer app. It allows you to put the font used in Android, which is very legible and crisp.
Nokia OVI Suite
If you’re on Windows, Nokia OVI Suite now supports n900 – so all is good. If you’re like on Linux (I’m on Ubuntu) – there are various ways you can sync e-mails, contacts and music into your N900 natively. Personally I prefer to take the easy route – which is to set up Virtual Box running Windows XP and install Nokia OVI Suite there.
Basically the trick is:
- Setup virtual machine WITH guest addition,
- You can then mount your n900 over USB into the virtual machine.
- Install Nokia OVI suite in the virtual machine.
- If you share your local files over samba and mount it in your virtual machine, you now have the full support of Nokia OVI Suite that is very easily accessible from within your Linux desktop.
Map & Navigation
No google map yet for this phone. BIG BUMMER. In the meantime, hang tight with OVI MAP. Not brilliant, but workable.
apt-get install kernel-power kernel-power-settings
- ctrl+delete – task switcher
- Ctrl+Shift+P – take screenshot. Image will appear in /usr/MyDocs/.screenshot
- ctrl+c, ctrl+v – the usual copy and paste in most app