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.


  1. And some people just want a phone!

  2. I've read a lot of reviews as well. I like your opinion, feels right to me.

  3. Couldnt agree more. Tired of the iphone vs n900 crap. Finally some light.

  4. That does not make it a bad phone when you use it as a phone, nor can't you be in a Disneyland-like place if you stick to Ovi-Store.

    But of course the N900 is much much more than that.

  5. Dear Mr Anonymous:

    The point is, you are NOT stuck to the OVI store.

    Like I said, this is a milestone in computer history. I am sure others that can express this better than I will notice this too.

    Wait till it hits the street!

  6. Excellent analogies Kurt. I'm eagerly waiting for my N900 to be at my doorstep from Amazon.I have an iPhone and I'm ready to swap the sim card out.

  7. I like your views

  8. Thanks Kurt - exactly my thoughts and impressions after using a N900 since the Amsterdam Summit.
    It's a paradigm change.

  9. Battery life? It depends on how much stuff you have going, and if you are close enough to a WiFi router to change the xmit power from 100mw to 10mw. I would say it is about the same as my N95. Don't expect to be out all day, on the net without a car / usb / plug in charger.

  10. hey sir ,
    I was doing some reading about the new Nokia N900 , and I came by your blog and the great posts you did for the N900 . Now the only thing I am wondering and I think you didn't clear in the posts is :
    The touchscreen, is it just like the Iphone ? I mean how good is it ? like you said Iphone is really great for pressing big things , but how N900 is good , I just hate buying those phones with this low touch capability . so if it is like the Iphone or better that is a great thing , and im not trying to compare them .. I just feel the Iphone is really great with the touchscreen thing .
    Thank you :D

  11. N900 Touch Screen. It is not as responsive to your fingers as an iPhone. It will allow you to use a stylus for exact work. I think it is about as good as a resistive touch screen can be for use with the fingers, but I prefer to use a stylus which can not be done on the iPhone.

    It is usable without the stylus in any case.

  12. hmm I understand now , thanks for clearing that up :) and for my choice I think I'm going to give this phone a try lots of great reviews for it and the fact that the phone is using Maemo5 as an OS is great !
    good luck & keep posting

  13. To Anonymous who has an N900 on order from Amazon, has Amazon given you any definited ship date?

    I have mine on pre-order from MobileCityOnline.com. They keep pushing the "Expect arrival date" back. Last week or so, it was expected on Nov 24. Earlier this week, that was pushed to Dec 1 which didn't make me feel too bad. I just checked their web site and now it says "4 to 6 weeks". Does anyone have any REAL ship date info from Nokia?

    On the bright side, I noticed Nokia's USA web site has marked down the N900 from $649 to $569. That's 12%, woo-HOO!



  14. Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

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  15. Where is the N900 now? :(

  16. Once you evaluate yourself and your needs you can move to the next step of finding the best phone for you.

  17. I love my N900 *and* Disneyland. Is that so wrong??