Tag Archives: n900

N900 PR1.3 is a screamer

Just installed the OTA (over the air) update on my N900 and the difference in speed is actually user-perceptible. Animations are smoother, rotation happens much more quickly and I could swear applications are starting faster as well. Many people are reporting improved battery life too.

There are no new major features that I’ve noticed, so of PR1.2 was a feature release, PR1.3 is very much a fine-tuning release. And despite what the few whiners on the maemo forums might say – that is not a bad thing!

More at the Nokia conversations blog and pocketables.net.

N900 PR 1.2 finally released

It’s about time.

I know it’s really sad to eagerly await a firmware update, but since this one fixes a lot of bugs, improves stability and adds Skype video calling, I think any eagerness is warranted.

The update was released over-the-air in the UK today and the worldwide release will follow tomorrow. But rather than wait I elected to do a clean flash.

First impressions? I’ve hardly had a chance to play with it, but it looks good so far. I don’t think it’ll be enough to stop me wishing I’d bought a Nexus One though.


N900 – 3 months on

My last post on this blog was a review of the Nokia N900, and that was a whole quarter ago. The last 3 months have been hectic to say the least but I now have a lot more free time!

So how has the N900 turned out?

In short, OK.

My conclusion still stands – the N900 is not a suitable phone for most people, and it probably isn’t the best phone for me either. For developers of applications for Nokia’s QT platform it’s the reference device and thus an essential piece of kit. But the general public are better served by the existing Symbian range.

So what’s good and what’s bad?
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Nokia N900 Buyer Review

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.
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It’s here!

Currently updating the firmware to the latest version, I’ll be writing a review once I’ve had a good play and am familiar with the device.

Initial impression: awesome.

Nokia N900 availability in New Zealand

So. They’re not out yet but I want one, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be easy to get hold of one.

I enquired with a friend who’s a computer dealer this week. He has an account with a major wholesalers that distributes Nokia devices, so I figured it would be a good place to start. The reply I got back was rather interesting.

Hi Alex,

By some wondrous decision, without consultation, we are now NOT allowed to sell any product from the importer that has Cell capabilities.

We have approached the commerce commission but they are swamped with bigger matters!

Long live New Zealand’s free trade… It appears that the big brothers still run the country.


Say what?

So I decided to ask Nokia themselves. And this is the response:

Hi Alex,

I am pleased to hear of your keen interest in the Nokia N900.

At this stage, there are no updates when this phone will be launched and release in Asia Pacific, which is including New Zealand. Hence, I do apologise as I am unable to confirm if the Nokia N900 will be available for sale in New Zealand once it is launched in Asia Pacific.

Kindly be advised that all new product launches are carrier and market dependent in all countries due to the tests carried out to ensure compatibility with network and government regulations. Hence, the launch dates are still not available as it is still in tests and awaiting approval from the respective network providers and government.

As a suggestion, you can subscribe to our Nokia e-Newsletter. The e-newsletter will provide any latest updates on our products as well dates for new product launches. You may refer to the link below to register for the e-Newsletter subscription:


We thank you for your interest in Nokia products and hope for your continued support.

Hope the above helps to clarify your query.

Thank you for emailing Nokia Careline! Please help us serve you better by providing your valuable feedback at:

[Link removed, has UID]

Do you know you can now update your phone software at your own convenience?
Visit www.nokia.com.au/support to check if your phone model is supported and download the “Nokia Software Updater”.

Kind regards,

Nokia Careline
Please contact us at 0800 665 421

Well I’m 100% sure that no government regulations are going to get in the way of a generic HSDPA device, so in other words, they need to wait for Vodafone to test whether an HSDPA 900/2100 device will work on an HSDPA 900/2100 network.

Can’t the consumer take some responsibility here? What if we want a phone that’s not locked to a particular carrier’s network? Paying $1000+ for a phone that only works on Vodafone’s network? I don’t think so. What if we want to buy a phone at market value rather than the exorbitant markup Telecom and Vodafone put on their phones? Vodafone charges $1800 for the N97 which is close to 100% markup and totally absurd.

I’m sure the high markup is done to make the contracts which include the phone more attractive, but it completely shafts anyone that doesn’t want to be locked in.

This market needs to change. Networks are built on standards, and so long as the device is compliant with those standards there should be no need for the carrier to “approve” them and control the market. Cellular devices are not just phones anymore, they’re computers, and the market isn’t reflecting that. I think the wholesaler’s decision not to sell cellular devices to computer retailers is strongly influenced by another party – and it’s fairly obvious who this benefits (hint: not the wholesaler, consumer or computer retailer, and I’d be dubious about whether this benefits Nokia in any way).

It looks like I will have to get one from a parallel importer. But I’m not particularly happy about it.

Messing with the N900

Apparently Nokia believes the mobile network carriers won’t be interested in selling the N900 because it won’t let them mess with the operating system.

Strangely enough, this is one of the reasons why I will be buying one.

Also interesting to see that Nokia doesn’t consider the N900 to be the “next generation” of computers. That honour is reserved for their fifth generation tablet – the model after the N900.

N900 w/ Maemo 5 – this will be my next phone

At the risk of turning into Engadget, I just have to say that I want one of these. And I mean really really want. But calling it a phone is a bit like calling a desktop PC a word processor.

Aside from being a true mobile computer which leaves the iphone for dead, it is powered by a completely uncrippled, unrestricted Linux distribution – Maemo 5 (which was released just 4 days ago, announcement here, more at gsmarena.com). This means there is no need to “jailbreak” your phone to run the applications you want – you are encouraged to do with the hardware whatever you like. There is no one whose permission you have to ask to write or install software on Maemo, you can just do it. Unlike Android, Maemo runs native code which should theoretically allow higher performance.

Currently my phone is a Nokia N78, a nice and simple Symbian S60 device. I call it a phone too, as while it can do other things, it’s primarily a cell phone and the interface is geared that way. Symbian has served us well, but was conceived in a time where phones and PDAs had a pretty narrow range of use cases, and it shows. Now days the traditional cell phone has evolved into a general purpose computing device, and this requires a much more powerful operating system.

In my opinion the N900 is a huge step towards the future of computing. Maemo devices won’t be replacing desktop PCs any time soon, but this is a huge step towards it happening, and many people have no need for anything beyond the capabilities of this device. The release is set for October, and assuming the price is in line with previous Nokia tablets I’ll probably get one fairly quickly. The N800 was already a solid if somewhat “nichey” product, and its main limitation was the lack of 3G / cell wireless. So given these ingredients, how could Nokia stuff this up?

Skype was supported on the N800, but its last update was December 2007. It could be the killer app for these devices, which will finally relegate network operators to the dumb pipes they should be. But if we see it blocked again as it was for Symbian, or crippled to only work over wifi as on the iphone, there’s always Google talk.

Personally I think Linux usage overtaking Windows on personal computing devices is inevitable, and this is how it’s going to happen (although the capabilities of the N900 will have to move down to a much lower price point first). We’ll see if I’m right in 5-10 years time.