Monday, October 5, 2009

I ♥ my N800

This was originally a digression within a really long post about using my N800 as a 64GB mp3 player. That post was long enough so I've ripped this bit out and placed it here.

I posted some tweets about this over the past week, but it bears repeating and explaining, so here goes:

I bought my N800 used. The guy who sold it to me wanted the money to buy a then brand-new first generation iPhone. I bought it because I was away from home for work and I had no portable computer. My laptop was on it's last legs and wouldn't work outside of it's dock.

At the time I was crashing with a friend that didn't have internet, so I needed something small and portable I could take anywhere I could get online. The eeePC 701 was yet to be released for another few months.

Once I bought the N800, I would sit in Burger King for hours leeching off their free wifi (I boycotted McDonalds for about a week because they expected you to pay for theirs). I could watch Youtube videos, check email, have multiple web pages open, read ebooks, play games, etc, all on a device that fit easily in my pocket.

The interface was occasionally frustrating, but going back to it I can see that it actually spoiled me. My Touch Pro may be able to get internet anywhere I can get a cell signal, but all of it's available web browsers are really piss-poor compared to the N800's built-in one. It's shocking to go back to a device that's two and a half years old but still does things better than anything I've tried since.

In fact, Maemo OS 2008 is a much better mobile OS than Windows Mobile. They're not in the same ballpark. They're not even in the same galaxy. WinMo is an OS that has yet to acknowledge that most smart phones are now touch screen devices. That's why every manufacturer of WinMo phones has their own interface, like HTC's TouchFlo 3d--there are also third party UIs like SPB Mobile Shell (which I use).

Nokia built Maemo on desktop Linux, and designed the UI to work very well on a mobile device. It's got a desktop-based interface that is very finger friendly. It's got the standard long press context menu. It's got 2 on-screen keyboards: a stylus keyboard and a finger keyboard (I really wish my Touch Pro had a giant finger keyboard). The N800 has a browser based on Mozilla's engine. It had an "app-store" long before the iPhone, although it wasn't a store--most of the available apps are open source and all of them that I know of are free.

If it had a cellular modem I would be using it as a phone right now.

Looking back on this device it breaks my heart that I'm stuck on Sprint for one more year. Sprint, whose network Nokia's smart phones don't work on. T-Mobile seems to be the carrier to go with if you want to use Nokia phones to their full potential.

The N900 is the successor to the N8X0 line (the N800 and the hardware-keyboarded N810). It is most similar in size and shape to the Touch Pro 2. It runs Maemo 5. If you've been following my blog or my twitter posts at all then you'd know I want this phone very badly.

In fact, if I had $700 to burn on the phone itself I would gladly shell out the extra cash for Sprint's early termination fee though, as I've said before, Sprint's service and prices are both good.

The N900 is cool enough all by itself. However, looking back at how great the N800 was just makes me want the N900 even more. I know I won't be buying it anytime soon, I'm practically broke. Still, it's reassuring that Nokia is still putting out quality products, and hopefully when I do have the money to spend they'll have an even nicer phone out.

Till then,


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