Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The Nokia N900 is not a cell phone!
I have been reading many reviews on the N900, comparing it to the iPhone, or Android based cell phones, and I am amazed that most of these reviewers just don't get it. The N900 IS NOT a cell phone in the traditional sense. Like I said in my last post, if you want to compare a Nokia product to an iPhone, then go get an N97. Want my honest opinion on a showdown between the N97 and the iPhone? OK, the iPhone wins. Just because the N900 is of similar size, and can access a cellular network does not make it a cell phone.
Now that we are finished with this cell phone comparison, lets look at what the N900 really is. The N900 is a "Window to the digital world".
Look at the picture above. See the little phone icon in the lower right corner? That is the shortcut to the phone app. It is no more or less important to the N900 experience than any of the other icons. When you open a contact, you get a REAL choice on how you want to communicate with them. And actually "choice" is what the N900 is really about. Choice is what differentiates the N900 from the iPhone or Android.
It may be easiest to describe the difference between Maemo, the iPhone, and Android this way. Lets start with the iPhone. Apple has complete control of the user experience. They want to make sure there are no surprises and want a total lock on how the look and feel of all applications will be. Lets say this is analogous to going to Disneyland. There is only one way in and out. You have to pay just for the privilege of paying again when you get in. Nothing is out of place. Every employee has a haircut, and there have been great pains taken to make sure that you only see, feel or taste what Disney wants you to. It is very safe, you wont be offended, and all you have to give up to get this is money and freedom of choice. After a few hours here, you will have "It's a small, small world" drilled into your mind, and even if you visit another amusement park, the song returns over and over.
Android is similar. But not quite as refined, and different handset makers can fool with it a little. Lets call Android Six Flags. Not the perfect Disneyland experience but they still have rides and concessions. It is however still a little rough around the edges. Fairly well controlled, but some one will still sneak up and try to sell you a gold chain, or some knock off perfume. The lady in front of you weighs 300 LBS, has on sweat pants, a thong sticking up, and 4 or 5 children of obviously different parentage. Still an amusement park, but not the perfect Disney controlled experience where nary a gum wrapper is to be found, and you only get to see and hear what Disney wants you to.
Now lets compare these to Maemo and the N900. Maemo isn't just an amusement park, not some where that everything has been decided for you. Lets call Maemo California. You get to see the awesome beauty of Yosemite. You can also cruise down South Figueroa past hookers and dope dealers, and even stop an be shot.
It is your "CHOICE". Choice always has danger. There are those that want everything decided for them, to be led like cattle as long as nothing bad happens to them (except that last walk up the ramp).
Some people want the freedom to make their own decisions on what they want to do, how they want something to work and are happy that Nokia and Maemo give them a wonderful framework to build their digital life in. The way they want, risks and all.
I still say the N900 will be a milestone in computer history along with the likes of the PDP-11, the Altair, and the SORD IS-11.
Do not be confused with comparisons to other "phones". It is Apples, and oranges.