29 Jan 2008
(updated 29 Jan 2008 at 01:06 UTC) »
So then I got the N810...
Seems Nokia was kind enough to give one of the developers
discount codes. After a bit of a wait as the Canadian store
had a few issues to sort out, I have this shiny little
device in my hand. Well, I did get on Thursday and writing
this blog post a few days later. And what do I have to
think? Well, here, in no particular order, are some bits:
- Size & Weight - It is thinner and heavier than I
expected, but about the same size as I had imagined.
- Screen - It rocks. Truly, it is bright and huge, at
least for something this big. I have an old Palm Tungsten E
and the screen on the N810 runs at about twice the
resolution and is only a little bit bigger
- The basic screen layout - Very well thought out, with
nice low contrast icons
- The GPS I was pleasantly surprised to see that the
resolution of the GPS compares favourably with my Garmin CS.
Having it built-in is very cool.
- Word completion - learns as you go, thus my completion
now includes words like "maemo" and "openstreetmap". I don't
think I need to say more
- Amazing battery life - This thing will go a whole day,
even with near constant usage in class, walking around, etc.
- Working power management - I guess I am just used to
Linux devices with crappy power management. All this just
shows what happens when the OEM gets involved from the
- "Gentle" notification system - If the screen has gone
black, there is a little LED in the upper corner that pulses
if somebody has messaged you or something simliar. Only if
it is fairly major like power issues or networking
disconnecting does it beep at you. Nice for in class or
- Hardware QWERTY keyboard - Like any small keyboard, it
takes a bit of getting used to, but overall the feel is
nice. The keyboard is backlit as well, nice for those dark
- Integration of Telepathy and evolution-data-server -
This is what we badly need on the desktop. Contacts are
contacts, regardless of what app you use them in. However,
see below for the ugly side to this.
- No native editing software for OpenStreetMap - This is
pretty much the perfect device for editing OSM. Built-in GPS
with touch screen running Linux.
- No tab key - In this era of endless web forms, where is
our tab key? If it is there, I haven't found it yet.
- No hardware scroll buttons on the main body - I keep
looking for something like the Blackberry's scroll wheel or
even just up and down buttons. Yes, there is a joypad-ish
type thing on the keyboard, but you need to pull down the
keyboard for that.
- No camera app by default - I see camera but no way to
use it by default.
- No tomboy-like app - Given one of the major uses of this
type of device is basic note taking, lists, etc., you would
think a tomboy-like autosaving desktop wiki would be a
first. Not so and no Tomboy .deb either.
- Telepathy is not completely mature yet - I had a few
issues with bouncing on and off on my home wireless and by
default it only supports SIP and
What seperates the bad from the ugly? The ugly are really
really stupid things. Small mistakes are not ugly, failures
to think, stupid legal issues, hardware that doesn't work,
these things are ugly.
- No Pimlico I badly want Pimlico to be shipped by
default. The default Contacts app uses
evolution-data-server, so most of the working bits are
there, but there are some issues. Ross
from OpenedHand has more
- Terrible package management - Yes, it has Ipkg and repos.
So compared to similar WinCE/Symbian devices it is miles
ahead, but that is really enough. There are a whole host of
issues, including lack of definitions for categories,
millions of repos and more. Makes me feel like I am running
Red Hat circa RH8.
- Hardware volume keys don't work - Right. I don't think I
will say more
- Default OS is closed source - The default OS, OS2008, is
actually Maemo + closed source bits, including drivers.
Given they have already dropped support for the N770, how
long before I get pissed off at Nokia for dropping support
for the N810?
- No OGG support - More CYA from Nokia legal (likely the
same issue with eds and pimlico). It also looks like it
doesn't use gstreamer, which means the fix has to be hacked in.
- Crappy default media centre, Canola is closed source -
The built-in media centre is not the greatest and the
closest thing to replace it, Canola, is closed source. Umm,
- No sync from GNOME to N810 - Given this is running a
huge amount of the same bits as my Ubuntu desktop, where is
my sync? Why can't I sync my contacts to and from the device?
- Default notepad app crashes on save - not everytime,
about 1 in 3. BUt the worst part is that when it crashes, it
truncates the files. So each crash leaves you with less and
Would I buy one of these things at full price? If I had the
money, absolutely. The hardware and software are slick,
excepting the issues above. The legal issues surrounding
Pimlico and Ogg are not the Maemo teams fault. Nor are some
of the hardware decisions, I imagine.