Well I (gerrymoth) touched down in London Heathrow Airport from Glasgow Airport on Saturday at 830am, then was quickly on route to meetup with the WOMWorld/Nokia Team (Donna and fellow scot Robbie) and five other guests (Jay, Nick, Valerio, Roger and Mick) from around the world for Breakfast in the Cavendish Hotel.
When I arrived the WOMWorld/Nokia Team introduced themselves and a N900 was thrusted into my hand to play with. WOW what a welcome 😀
Once everyone else arrived we moved into the breakfast room and I’ve never wolfed down a fried breakfast as quickly in my life to allow me to sit and test out the N900.
The N900 has four desktops which you can add widgets, bookmarks, contacts and shortcuts to, you move between desktops by swiping left or right. Up on the top left hand corner is the menu icon and the normal phone ones like battery, network signal, bluetooth, wifi, etc.. Touch the menu icon and the menu grid appears like it does on normal S60 type phones. From the menu everything looks quite phone like rather than tablet like.
I opened up every application I could and ended up with multiple ‘windows’ like boxes which you can quickly switch between. I really liked this windows look and hope they can change or theme the menu grid in some way to make it a bit better looking. Moving around the desktop/menu/applications once you get used to it (took me 10min) is very easy and VERY VERY fast.
The N900 didn’t have a SIM Card in it and the hotel Wifi wouldn’t let me connect, so Joikuspot on the E55 came in very handy and I quickly tethered the N800 to the O2 Mobile Internet (O2 internet policy I say ‘Bla bla bla’). I managed to check for software updates on the N900 and found there was a new one waiting, but required me to connect to the PC and NSU to update. I then checked for the available apps to install and was presented with a short lists, maybe the extras repositories hadn’t been setup, but I managed to install Documents To Go, QIK and an Evernote add-on, which took a minute to install all of them.
I took a few photos using the Camera and tested out the Tagging feature and also took a video of the others eating breakfast and played it back to see what it was like. Pictures and video looked good, but didn’t manage to extract off the phone (reason will be explained later). I noticed a few videos already installed on the N900 and played a great trailer for the new Tim Burton movie 9 on it. The picture and the sound for the trailer were superb, the video is flickerless and sound was BANGING. The sound was way better than the sound on my (still in repair, Day 29) 5800XM.
I opened the Notes application on the deivce to test out the keyboard and found the keyboard’s 3 row layout very easy to use in the hand and the slide felt good opening and closing it, not as godlike a sound as the N97 snap, but still pleasurable 😀
Opened Maps application, but couldn’t get a GPS lock due to being in the Hotel and unable to see sky, but noticed there was no maps loaded on the device or thinking about it, maybe it only had Finland maps? Anyway couldn’t test fully, but did notice the Compass feature in the maps app.
I had not contacts and didn’t want to add my email details onto the device, but the mail setup looked Nokia Messaging like and contacts looked standard, later on we saw one of the guys with his contacts on the desktop and Chat/IM app running and it looked cool. There is no MMS as such yet, but been told its coming in the next kernel update. I did ask what else was missing, but no one said anything!
We all finished breakfast and jumped into a taxi to take us all down to the BFI to meet the N900 represetatives.
At the BFI Southbank we meet up with Jussi Makinen (N900 Marketing Manager), Andrew Flegg (The Maemo Community) and Gary Birkett (Liqbase application developer http://liqbase.net). Jussi dropped the bombshell that he had to leave in about an hour and the devices we had need to go back with him, so while he took Q&A I had to pass the device over to one of the other bloggers who hadn’t had a play with it yet 😦 BOO!
Anyway Jussi took questions from us all and explained a little about the N900 development todate. I did try recording the Q&A on my E55 using the default Recorder app, but the E55 didn’t saved the file (Aaaaahhh!). The main points of interest I got out of the Q&A session was:
– Nokia listened to the Maemo Community when developing the N900 and will continue to listen to them. The Mameo Community has 25,000 members at present.
– There will be a N900 Hackers Firmware Edition for N810 users (like the 770 had when N800 appeared). Jussi explained the N810 is very capable of running the N900 OS, but the chip in the N810 doesn’t have the required license to use it and would need drivers from the manufacturer, something Nokia are talking with the manufacturer about to obtain.
– The N900 will be on sale at the MAEMO Summit on 9th october 2009.
– Nokia see the N900 more for techie people and the N97 more for mainstream people.
– The available memory in the N900 to install applications, currently 65MB only, will be extended in an update to 1GB.
– The straight slide out keyboard was chosen instead of the newer N97 slide, divertly from feedback from the community on what they preferred. If the community in the future prefer the N97 slide, then Nokia may change?
We managed to have some time after the presentations to visit one of the many London attractions and we were treated to the London Eye. Great views of the whole of London and we managed to give a video comment to the WOMWorld/Nokia Team on our thoughts of the N900. If I don’t look too good on the video the temperature in the all glass pod on a very sunny London day was a little hot.
I managed to visit the Nokia Flagship Store in London and also the Apple Store straight across the road from it. I did buy my Wife a replacement Newer iPod Shuffle 2GB from the Apple Store, but I did try to hide it when I walked past the Nokia Store again 😀
Later on in the evening we ventured back to the BFI as the sun faded to see the onedotzero demonstration, the N900 being used remotely to control images coming from several projectors, I can’t explain it well so here is the video I took.
I did have some fun by putting up nokiAAddict and gerrymoth, but it ended up getting rediculous when Neil put up Merry Christmas, that was our queue to go for dinner and have a free beers. I have a great meal with Neil, Jay, Valerio and Roger and we discussed many different techie subjects. Good night, good company and good beer 😀
The N900 excites me, its coming near to what I want from my phone, a MINI PC. I’ll be able to do what I want, when I want and where I want. The more developers get on board with the Maemo Community the possibilities are endless, that’s not saying there isn’t much there already. The N900 is feature packed and the fastest nokia device I’ve used and I’m hoping one of the UK Networks see sense and carry this phone. Come on networks, get over the Open Source tag, its still a phone you’ll flog by the millions.
I’m hoping to get a N900 in a few weeks to trial out fully, so will be able to give you a full indepth review of the device, but for the 2 hours I had the device I was hooked on it.
Checkout the other guest bloggers views on the N900 and see me on the WOMWorld/Nokia video (Ah!)
WOMWorld/Nokia Video http://www.womworld.com/nokia/11336/the-art-of-the-nokia-n900/
Finally a BIG BIG THANKS to the WOMWorld/Nokia Team for inviting me to this event and the great hospitality on the day. Was a wonderful day and a great experience. Hope its the 1st of many???? :-p