I’ve had to think long and hard about this review. The N900 is unquestionably flawed, but it’s a leading edge device, and prescient in so many ways. It shows promise of things to come, and that promise is exciting. So does one knock it as a failed attempt at reclaiming the smart phone crown, or praise its foresight and anxiously await N900+1? Considering Nokia’s stance on the device it would perhaps be unfair to call it an attempt to retake the smart phone crown, as they never positioned it as such. But it does not deserve unreserved praise either.
To get my own personal bias out of the way – I want to love the N900. It’s a Linux-based smart phone built on open source software that doesn’t try to hide its roots. I’m a Linux geek and open source enthusiast. I dislike walled gardens such as the iPhone App Store and the artificial restrictions placed on the iPhone, so a 3GS was never an option. Android is a bit too tied to Google’s services (a company which already knows much more about me than I would like to admit), and while Nokia are certainly trying to push their Ovi suite of services, they would be foolish to make it difficult for you to use competing services. My credibility as a reviewer drops somewhat given my lack of experience in using Android, and quality time with an iPhone. I’ve had a play on devices owned by friends, but that’s not enough to get to know the ins and outs of a device.
So it’s with a bit of trepidation that I review the N900. My only real frame of reference is the aging Symbian S60 – an OS that has served us well, but is now past its use-by date and hardly the ideal operating system to compare it to.