On Friday my eighteen month contract for my HTC Touch Pro finally came to an end, and the time came to choose a new phone. As usual most of my Twitter followers suggested I should get an iPhone, and as usual my response was – NEVER. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I come from the 10 Print ‘Hello’; 20 Goto 10 generation and I want something that’s as open as possible that I can play about with, and I will happily sacrifice a seamless user-interface to get it.
So my phone of choice – Nokia’s N900:
Actually Nokia don’t market it as a phone, in fact it’s a small Linux(Maemo)-based tablet computer that happens to have some phone capabilities – even something as universal as MMS requires the installing of an additional application. Nonetheless it is a great little computer, and pretty much anything you can do on a Linux laptop you can do on the N900, including running OpenOffice and GIMP. When I updated from an N95 to the HTC Touch Pro I was disappointed that I didn’t notice a significant difference in what I could do with the HTC, this time I really can.
Great things about the N900:
- A great browser with Flash 9.4 – I’ve pretty much stopped using apps to interact with web sites as the N900 browsing experience is so close to that of the desktop. You can even interact with the full versions of Google Wave and Google Docs! It’s also great for the streaming of BBC content – one day everyone will use HTML 5 and we won’t need Flash, but for now I’d rather be with it than without it.
- FM Transmitter – I’m not sure when I’ll ever need an FM transmitter, but nonetheless there is something very enjoyable about transmitting your own sounds through the radio.
- FCam (and FCamera) – An open source C++ API to help create new camera applications – i.e., Camera 2.0.
- Macro lens:
On top of which the usual essentials, e.g., GPS, QWERTY keyboard, touch screen, massive storage (32GB!!).
The N900 is by no means a phone suitable to everyone, but if you were the sort of person who mourned the passing of the home computer in favour of the next generation of consoles, then the N900 is for you. In fact, the chances are there will be an emulator of your old home computer available, and with a QWERTY keyboard and 3.5″ screen there are no excuses not to be programming away on it.