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Friday, December 2, 2011

Time for Android? --Nokia Troubles

I have a Nokia N900.  It is one of the greatest phones ever made.  I wish that the mobile phone industry were moving in it's direction, but they aren't.  Still, I'm going to need a new phone sooner or later, probably sooner.  Not only that, I find myself wanting a new phone.  I want a bigger screen.  I want better battery life, and okay, better compatibility with a multitude of cloud services.


The N900 is the Swiss Army Knife of phones.  It has a FM receiver, a FM transmitter, an IR blaster (you can use it as a tv remote), a slide-out keyboard, blah blah blah.  I gush all over it in this "Things I Have Loved" post.

Its OS, Maemo 5, is very similar to desktop Linux.  A lot of really cool desktop apps have been ported to the N900.  Abiword.  Transmission.  SMPlayer.  Comix.  Evince. Notecase Pro.

Using Easy Debian, you can install many desktop Linux programs on the N900.  There will be UI problems, because those programs were probably written for a bigger screen and a keyboard/mouse combination, but it's possible in a pinch.

Besides all of that, Maemo has one of the greatest communities ever.  The N900 shipped without MMS capabilities.  The community implemented it.  The N900 shipped without the ability to assign different ringtones to different contacts.  The community took care of it.  Better FM transmitter performance, brought to you by the community.  More apps, more ports, more hacks, brought to you by the Maemo community.  And the contributors are still there, working away on it.  They're still writing apps for the N800, and that's older than the first iPhone.

As I said earlier, I want a phone with a bigger screen and better battery life, among other things. I love the N900 and it's community, but I've made no secret on this blog that I do not agree with Nokia's decision to switch to the Windows Mobile 7 OS. I have no interest in using Windows Mobile 7.  Nokia isn't putting anything out that I'm remotely into.

I don't know if there are really any other choices than Android for me at this point.  It's got a few good communities.  XDA Developers is a great forum.  Rootzwiki is really cool too, I hope that site takes off in a big way.

Most of the kind of apps I need, I can get for Android.  There's a Dropbox app for the N900, but it's outdated, and Dropbox integration in Android seems much more productive.  For nearly everything I want a phone to do, an Android phone can handle it, with the exception that I don't think there's any new phones on the market with a FM transmitter.  That's disappointing, but I can deal with it.  Back to headphones when driving other people's cars, I guess.

I wish Maemo or Meego would have taken off.  I wish Nokia would have thrown their weight behind the N900.  Oh well.

I'll post more later with more specifics on why I'm seriously considering Android.

-David

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