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rcadden

Nokia N900 Preview: Things I Hate

2009-12-01 17:26 UTC  by  rcadden
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I already gave you my first impressions, but now after using the Nokia N900 for a few more days on production firmware, I’ve come up with a list of things that really bother me about this powerful little gadget. I’m going to ignore the fact that it doesn’t support AT&T’s 3G, because, well, I am. Not that I’m not annoyed by that, but I don’t think it’s pertinent to this part of my preview. Also keep in mind that this isn’t a comprehensive list of bad things about the N900 – it’s just my list of things that annoy me, in no particular order.

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Categories: Reviews
rcadden

Nokia Will Likely Only Have One Maemo Device In 2010

2009-11-30 14:03 UTC  by  rcadden
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Not that this should really surprise anyone who has been in the Maemo community for a while, but ‘sources close to Nokia’s 2010 roadmap‘ have revealed that there will only be a single Maemo device released in 2010. Of course, this device will likely run Maemo 6, the next version of the Maemo operating system, and will hopefully add some hardware improvements over the N900, such as support for AT&T’s 3G network, perhaps a higher resolution camera, and at the very least a bigger battery.

maemo6

Don’t forget, though, that this is an un-official rumor – Nokia has not confirmed it, so take it with a grain of salt. However, ever since they first launched the 770 Internet Tablet, Nokia has only released new Maemo-powered hardware roughly every 12-18 months, with the exception of the N810 Wimax edition, though that hardly counts as ‘new’ hardware.

What improvements would you like to see in the next Maemo device?

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Categories: Rumors
rcadden

N900 Bug Enables Portrait Mode

2009-11-30 01:40 UTC  by  rcadden
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N900 In Portrait ModeOne of the biggest complaints that I have about the N900 currently is the lack of portrait mode for applications other than the phone. This is huge because currently, with the device stuck in landscape mode, it’s a two-handed device only. Sure, you can try to use it one-handed, but it’s clearly a terrible experience. Fortunately, Nokia has promised an update that includes at least partial portrait mode support around Christmas, so we’ve not long to wait.

However, if you’re as impatient as I am, you can apparently trick your N900 into portrait mode, as evidenced in the video embedded below. I have not been able to get the bug to work on my N900, but you may have better luck. Essentially, you’re supposed to launch the phone application (via accelerometer), and then slide the keyboard open while the phone is launching, then close the phone app just as quickly as you can.

You’ll notice, however, in the video, that the UI does not fully adjust for portrait mode, as parts of the homescreens do not show up, and various other parts of the UI remain hidden. However, it does give a good idea as to what Maemo 5 in portrait mode will look like. Here’s hoping that they add an onscreen QWERTY keyboard, ala Android, to make entering text in this mode even easier.

[Photo courtesy Guyver95's Ovi Share]

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Categories: How-Tos
rcadden

Guide To Maemo Apps For Symbian Converts

2009-11-25 22:17 UTC  by  rcadden
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With the Nokia N900, Nokia threw a lifeline out to its many fanboys who were disappointed with the ‘flagship’ N97’s initial performance. However, most of these fanboys – myself included – are familiar with Symbian applications, but have no experience in this new ‘Maemo’ operating system. As such, we’ve put together this guide to help Symbian converts find the right Maemo applications to duplicate the functionality of their beloved Symbian applications. Note, also, some Symbian features that require an application are actually built-in on Maemo, which makes things easier.

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Categories: Applications
rcadden

Dell Now Shipping N900 Pre-Orders

2009-11-23 02:24 UTC  by  rcadden
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Nokia said last week that the Nokia N900 had begun shipping to retailers around the world, though of course that doesn’t instantly mean they’ll be available to you, the average consumer. There have been sightings around the net of various status of pre-orders, specifically those from Amazon.com, but we now have confirmation from reader @bdogg64 that his Nokia N900, which he pre-ordered from Dell, has already shipped.

You can see the confirmation below, clearly showing that his N900 will arrive shortly!

dellshippingconf

Is yours shipping, too? If so, where did you order it from?

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Categories: News
rcadden

What Do You Love About Your N900?

2009-11-20 15:49 UTC  by  rcadden
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Browsing the talk.maemo.org boards today, I came across a fun request from user Timsamoff. It seems W+K, Nokia, Lcuk, and Tim are trying to put together a library of video footage of the Maemo community. They’re looking to get N900 users to put together a short video sharing what they like most about their N900s. Apparently, these videos will be used for something really cool, though we’re not being told just what – yet.

Maevoice

You can see all of the submitted videos on Vimeo, to get an idea of what they’re looking for. Tim’s also given a few rules/suggestions, like these:

Record one more video where you answer the following question:

“What is your favourite feature on the N900 and why?”

DO

  • Do shoot it in front of a fixed camera or webcam.
  • Do talk directly to camera.
  • Do hold the phone.
  • Do make sure that what you are saying is audible.
  • Do talk about why you like whatever particular feature.

DON’T

  • Don’t try to show the feature on the phone. Just hold it.
  • Don’t move the camera around. It should be a fixed shot.

Once you’ve recorded your video, you’ll need to send Tim a PM on the talk.maemo.org boards (so you’ll need an account there, which you should have, anyways). He’ll then give you the login information to upload your video to the Vimeo account.

What is your favorite thing about the Nokia N900? I’ll submit my video soon, and will add it to this post so you can see what I like the best.

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Categories: News
rcadden

DFW Nokia N900 Meetup On November 25

2009-11-20 13:34 UTC  by  rcadden
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champpsAfter a few unexpected delays, we have finally set a time and date for the DFW Nokia N900 Meetup! If you’ve never been to a meetup, it’s just a gathering of sorts of nerds like us, talking about and obsessing over our favorite gadgets. This meetup will be focused around the Nokia N900, and we’ll have at least 2 of them on hand, perhaps more (still working on that). It’s free to attend, but I do need to get a count of how many to expect, so an RSVP is required.

The DFW Nokia N900 Meetup will take place on Wednesday, November 25, at 630pm, and go until 830pm (though you’re welcome to stay later). I realize this is Thanksgiving Eve, but it was the only time that worked, so hopefully you can make it. We’ll be gathering at Champps in Las Colinas, located at 855 West John W. Carpenter Freeway, Irving, TX 75039. A big thanks goes out to Nokia WOM World, who is helping out by providing appetizers and munchies for us. Drinks are on you.

If you’re in the area, please come by to check out the Nokia N900. We’ll have access to an HDTV that we can test the TV-out functionality on, and there should be WiFi in the restaurant, as well.

Please click here to RSVP.

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Categories: Features
rcadden

Maemo Will Soon Power The Nseries

2009-11-18 15:59 UTC  by  rcadden
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maemoduckThe first Nseries device to use the Maemo operating system was the N800 Internet Tablet, which I still have. The N900 is the first Maemo-powered Nseries device to have a built-in SIM card slot and cellular phone capabilities (ignoring VOIP, of course), and according to a Maemo representative at an N900 meetup last night, it won’t be the last. Ben Smith of The Really Mobile Project is reporting that Nokia will phase Symbian out of its iconic Nseries product line, replacing that with Maemo.

The move will reportedly be gradual, starting now and working itself out over the next 2 years, so that in 2012, all Nseries devices will be powered by Maemo. Symbian will be relegated to the Eseries and Xseries smartphones, so as not to be totally forgotten.

This is a major move for Nokia, who has historically only released a single Maemo-powered device at one time, typically around 12 months apart. However, the company normally launches five or more Nseries devices each year, and I personally hope they continue that trend with the Maemo-powered Nseries devices in the pipeline.

Certainly this is good news for the Maemo community, as well. The Nseries line is Nokia’s cream of the crop (with notable exceptions like the N81 and N96), representing the ultimate mobile device and technology. Gradually introducing Maemo into an entire product family is a big deal, and I’m definitely excited to see the improvements that this move is guaranteed to bring to Maemo.

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Categories: News
rcadden

How To Update Your N900’s Firmware

2009-11-16 13:44 UTC  by  rcadden
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usb_symbolWith the production Nokia N900 units now shipping to most countries, those of us with pre-production units need to update our firmware to the latest release. Also, historically in Maemo, there are much more frequent firmware updates than there are in the Symbian world, so the maemo.org community has put together a Wiki with helpful links on how to update your device’s firmware.

There are different steps to use, depending on what operating system you have running on your computer.

Windows: Windows users can update their Nokia N900 using Nokia Software Update tool. You can use this walkthrough to install and run NSU under Windows 7, too. Be sure to backup any critical information before applying the update, as it will reset your device to factory settings. The internal device memory will be cleared, but your 32GB internal memory card will not be.

Linux: Linux users can use the Flasher to update their firmware. Download the flasher here, and the N900 firmware image here. To start flashing, turn the N900 off, then connect the USB cable (with the device still powered off). Open a terminal and run ‘sudo ./flasher-3.5 -F <firmware image filename> -f -R‘ and enter your administrator password. You’ll get a message that a suitable USB device isn’t found, so you’ll now need to press the power button to turn your N900 on. Once it’s on, it will start flashing, and then it will reboot. When you see the normal desktop, you can disconnect your N900.

Mac OS X: Follow the same steps as for Linux users, except you’ll need to download the 770Flasher application. As with Linux, you’ll want to connect your N900 (powered down) via USB cable, then run the 770Flasher and drag the firmware image that you downloaded (ends with .bin) over to the 770Flasher. It will tell you a suitable USB device wasn’t found, and that’s when you press the power button to turn the device on. It should then begin flashing your N900, and again, when you see the normal desktop on the device, it’s safe to disconnect.

Note that Nokia also releases updates to Maemo devices OTA, using SSU (Seamless Software Update). This will show as a small orange box blinking in your tray, and will update different parts of your device, without the need for a computer and without erasing any of your data.

How did these steps work for you?

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Categories: How-Tos
rcadden

The Nokia N900 Is Not A Phone

2009-11-12 22:00 UTC  by  rcadden
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I’ve been using the Nokia N900 as my primary device for a few weeks now, and have made some really interesting observations. One of the things that has really stood out is the fact that this thing is seriously not a phone. It’s not even a smartphone, to be honest. There are a number of factors contributing to this, some of which could be fixed in the future.

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Categories: Rants
rcadden

If You Love Ovi, You’ll Hate The N900

2009-11-12 17:07 UTC  by  rcadden
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Nokia is horrendous at services, this we know. The true level of this, however, is lost until you try to use the company’s latest and greatest product, the N900, with its latest and greatest services, the Ovi family of services. What’s even more silly is that the Nokia N900 has an icon for the Ovi Store – Nokia’s software store, predominantly loaded with Symbian applications, but with other content, too. Other Ovi services are unsupported, which just makes no sense at all.

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Categories: Rants
rcadden

Firefox For Maemo Updated To Beta 5

2009-11-11 14:59 UTC  by  rcadden
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The Mozilla team just announced a new version of ‘Fennec’, which is also known as Firefox for Maemo. The new version, Beta 5, includes several updates, listed below. I’ve tried Fennec on various Maemo devices, including the N800, N810, and now the N900, and this version is the first that I would consider even remotely usable. It launches in seconds, rather than minutes, which is a first step towards usability.n900_firefoxThis new browser for the Nokia N900 is still somewhat slow, even over my home WiFi network, though the interface is, in my opinion, much nicer than the built-in browser. After a bit of loading, this new version has no problems rendering the full version of Maemo-Guru.com, in fact.

One cool thing about Firefox for Maemo is the Weave add-on, which allows you to synchronize information between your desktop and N900. This is one of the things that was missing in every one of the previous Maemo devices, and I’m really glad to have the ability to easily sync bookmarks and tabs with my device finally. The implementation is still somewhat buggy, but I’m still glad to see someone working on it. I would also like to see Xmarks.com update their add-on to support Firefox for Maemo in the near future, as well.

Here’s the list of improvements from the Mozilla team:

  • Firefox official branding, with Firefox name and logo
  • Support for multiple locales, currently including Spanish, German, French, Italian, Dutch, and Russian
  • Flash sites such as YouTube now work
  • The viewport meta tag is now supported by Firefox on mobile sites using it
  • New form assistant to make filling in forms easier
  • Improved panning and zooming performance and behavior
  • Numerous other bugs and polish issues addressed

Not bad, though I can’t help but wonder how many betas we’ll have before we get the finished product. You can get Firefox for Mobile installed on your N900 by going to http://www.mozilla.com/m in your device’s browser.

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Categories: Applications