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Finding Maemo: Unboxing the Nokia N900

Written by Jayvee Fernandez

Although I was probably the first to see it last year, I apologize if it took me a while to post this. Having been so busy with matters of great consequence, I was unable to do a proper unboxing of the N900 that Nokia sent over. Rico pretty much nailed it here. But anyway, yay! No more blurry photos for me.

The N900 is a special phone. It is special because it symbolizes a crossroads that Nokia was faced with to build a new operating system, and that road taken is called the Maemo OS. Usually, purchasing a Nokia phone puts the user into the S60 interface, which almost all medium to high end phones have installed. Maemo was the next step into Nokia’s graduation to better operating systems and soon, the Maemo project will have merged with yet another operating system, MeeGo which is a joint venture between Intel and Nokia. The MeeGo project will soon expand into other devices apart from phones, including multimedia devices and notebooks.

In the future, there is the possibility to dual boot MeeGo and Maemo into the N900, but I’m going way ahead of myself. Today, it is all about the N900 and Maemo.

Elegant packaging. I love it. The N900 comes with the basics, really — charger, USB cable (also a charger), video out cables, 1320 mAh battery, headphones and a little piece of cloth to wipe screen stains. I like how the black screen cover peels off. I saved it because it looks expensive.

I do plan to make a series of posts with the N900 as there’s so much to write about. It’s like being a little boy again — a relatively brand new operating system for me to play with. One of the first things you’ll notice is Nokia’s threaded messaging feature for SMS called “Conversations.” This is where you will find all your SMS messages but threaded for easier context. Add the way Maemo handles multitasking and you have a winner in keeping multiple conversations open. In the past, inboxes would display the latest message sent to you. This was fun. It was great. It was the statusquo. But having alternated between other devices and the N900 made me miss the latter’s multitask feature: I can keep track of several conversations all in one screen thanks to the “Expose” button (I use “Expose” as this is the same effect seen in Mac OS X for easy app switching). And it works with other apps too. I noticed as well how the OS feels lighter (I mentioned this in my previous hands on last year), that despite having many windows open the UI doesn’t lag out.

Things I was able to do: run flash-based apps on the browser, make Nokia Messaging work with SMART, take decent photos at press events, store 3 seasons of Dr. Who. Stay tuned for more. The N900 isn’t perfect — but it is a remarkable first device of its class.

The Nokia N900 retails at PHP 29,990.00 and is available now.

* P.S. I’m testing out my new portable studio solution:

About the author

Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

7 Comments

  • @Winston… used to be? Why not now?

    @Jayvee… can you give us a preview of the negatives? I’m seriously considering this against any of the new Android phones like the X10, or maybe even staying with Symbian S60 (E72) and then wait for the new N series that will run Symbian^3. Has the Maemo community tried to send out any updates before Meego officially releases?

  • I have always like Nokia, because of all the Nokia phones I have owned, they have always been well made and very durable, as well as getting much better reception that my other phones.

    My next phone will definitely be a smartphone and I have already decided I don’t want an iPhone, so it will probably come down to the Android vs Nokia…

  • @doc harry — sorry for the late reply. there is word about the dual boot as mentioned in the article but nothing official. do you need it urgently? for me i think these things might take about half a year longer so if you can’t wait …

    also, regarding your Q about the N900,i’d have to say that battery life can be improved on. there are ways of doing this (as usual, data connection is the culprit here, so turning it off, or in my case, only using nokia messaging on manual, as opposed to auto push is what i do to conserve. 5 hours with constant data. 12 hours with moderate call and text use only. )

    also as MaeMo is relatively new the app store is still budding, so you need to consider this as well.

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  • haha, the first thing I noticed about your unboxing photos: “damn these are good shots, this guy’s got some great lighting.”

    The last photo explains it all 😀

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