Step away from the N900!
My wife says I am obsessive! She is of course referring to me and my new friend/toy the Nokia N900, which arrived two days ago after a slight delay. You can read all about that in the previous post. Since then I have managed to run the device dry 4 times and when I say “run the device dry”, I mean use it “non stop” for 5 or so hours until the battery is dead. So I guess that is what she means by “obsessive”.
I read the manual that came in the box and it was pathetic, all 17 pages of it. It explained nothing. So I did a search for a manual or a how to guide and found a 231 page Nokia N900 User Guide. (now we are talking). It’s a PDF file and I now have it on the phone for easy access and will be reading it front to back and back to front.
So what is the big deal about this device? The first thing noticeable when it’s turned on is the fact that it runs 99% of the time in the horizontal mode (as in the image to the left). This is so the large 3.5inch screen can be utilized fully. One also notices the lack of buttons anyone on the front. Not even a red or green buttons for making or ending calls and that is because the N900 is more a mini computer than a phone. I received a call while on the train home and to be honest, I didn’t know how to pick it up (ha ha).
It runs “Maemo“, which in simple terms is an open source linux operating system. Open source means anyone can develop software for it and there is a ton of software available in various stages of development. I have loaded quite a few applications already and haven’t even touched the surface of whats on offer.
Here are a few of my favourites so far:
- Angry Birds – a very addictive game by Rovio (check out the trailer here). Simple idea but brilliant!
- FBreader – Ebook reader, also trying out MGutenberg.
- gPodder – Podcast player.
- Firefox – Yup, the N900 can display a full browser perfectly and it’s fast. Did I mention add-ins, just like the application on the PC. It’s awesome! One particular awesome add-in is called Weave and I quote;
The Weave Sync add-on lets you securely take your Firefox experience with you wherever you go. You can now surf the Web on your PC, get up and go, and have everything waiting for you on your phone: your history, open tabs, bookmarks, the Awesome Bar – just as you had left it.
- Mauku – Twitter application – I also tried out Witter, but find Mauku to be more finger friendly.
- Mediabox – an alternate to the default media player.
- Pidgen – Instant Messenger application allowing me to be logged into MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk, and Skype. There is a whole host of other IM’s. Facebook chat would be nice. Actually Skype is built into the contact section, which is cool because one can chat, make VOIP calls etc.
- Facebook – Social networking application that we all love/hate/know!
- Extra media codecs for playing just about any video / audio format. All my files on my home server work perfectly and I got a real good mix (FLAC, MP3, MP4, MKV, AVI, DIVX, etc).
- Vagalume – it plays Last.FM and Libre.FM. As there is no Mobbler yet, this is the next best thing. Upon starting the application it soon becomes apparent that Last.FM will not work because of some licencing issues, but fear not as there is a hack or work around and it works perfectly if one follows the instructions over at NokiaAddict.com – Thanks @Gerrymoth.
One very cool feature is the ability to play Music / Video / Photos from my home media servers over wireless. The N900 makes uses of Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA). The device supports up to 4 media servers at one one. I currently have two connected (my iMac and Cubestation), so I have been streaming music and video to the phone with ease. No need for cables or SD cards etc. It’s so amazing.
It’s impossible to tell you all the features, because there are thousands all made possible by the Maemo operating system. Simply the best mobile device I’ve ever owned! Now stepping away from the N900.
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We are Mike and Jo Bowen. Originally from South Africa, we now live & work in the United Kingdom. Mike is the blogger, beer drinker, gadget man, reviewer and Jo is the proofreader, wine drinker, cat lady, sanity checker and “don’t you dare put that on lookatbowen.com“. Together we travel the world and have fun wherever possible. If you are new to this website and want to know more about us, check out the the longer version.
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