So, recently, I was speaking out against Steve Jobbs’ recent attack on Adobe (or is that Google?) The tweet was simple really…
Anyway, in discussion with people responding to my tweet, I mentioned that I needed “to get my Nokia asap.” The backstory on that comment… I have always preferred Nokia phones. I had worked for Rogers and they just seemed to always be the best “phone.” Hands down, when reliability and phone call quality was an issue, I always grabbed for a Nokia when discussing various models with clients. I’ll always remember the day that a few of us were in the concrete basement of a hockey rink rummaging through boxes looking for something when my phone rang and I just stared blankly at it in amazement while everyone else double checked their phones to find them having zero signal as expected.
As time went on I had actually wound up becoming a Silver Certified Data Rep with Rogers though and had moved into the area of smartphones. Treos, blackberries and the like were where my focus had shifted to and I wasn’t using Nokia phones as much as they didn’t have any offerings in that area back then. I did however, hold onto my Nokia 6820 for when I was out and about as it was a great, small phone that was still easy to text message with while needing little real estate in my pocket.
Anyway, back to the tweet… so I made the comment as I was still trying to figure out if I wanted a Nokia N97 or an N900. I had zeroed in on those two phones and was having trouble deciding which one to take the plunge on. As money is tight, it’s a big purchase and I wasn’t able to actually see them in person. Bell offers the N97 but the N900 isn’t currently available in Canada and it seemed like the better one for me. Well lo and behold, the next morning in my Inbox was an email regarding that discussion on Twitter. It was a very nice fellow from WomWorld.com, @womworldnokia on Twitter.
The gist of the email was that after reading my tweet, they had checked out my blog and wondered if I would like to try out a Nokia N900. They liked my artwork I post and thought I would enjoy the Sketch app. Basically, the idea was that they would let me try one out free of charge and in exchange, they would appreciate if I shared my thoughts about the experience online. They not only were OK with both positive and negative comments, they actually recommend discussing both.
Needless to say, I was a tiny bit skeptical…. why would someone send me a high quality device at no charge just to try out? Why should I trust them, and would they trust me?!? I checked out their site and seen that they didn’t actually sell phones, but did seem to have a healthy bit of positive feedback…. and they weren’t asking for any money or anything so I thought I’d fill in the form and send it back. What’s the harm, right? I had filled the form in on a Friday and by end of day the following Monday a package came by courier.
Holy crap… they sent me a Nokia N900!
I was amazed. Still trying to wrap my head around the idea that they sent me the phone, I opened the box and checked it out. All the accessories you get with one was there… battery, charger (unfortunately as it came from London, it was a UK charger which wouldn’t work for me,) USB cable and the phone. WOW, well time to figure out if this really is the phone for me!
I’ll admit, the OS is very different than what I am used to. Currently, I have been using an iPhone. While it’s simplicity is likely nice for the less savy user, I grew to hate it for all the ways it really constrained my user experience. I guess it’s that whole “with greater power comes greater responsibility” thing… I could do more with this phone, but I had to think a little more at first as well. After a couple days, I really became comfortable with it and grew to love it and actually prefer the OS.
With the N900, you still have an app screen similar to the iPhone’s main view. You merely click an icon to view it. You’re “desktop” is much more powerful than that. Not only can you store “bookmarks” to apps and urls like the iPhone but you also have widgets. For example, rather than an icon to launch my calendar, I have a quick view of my next 3 upcoming events with that link to my calendar… or a running Facebook news feed with my icon to launch Facebook… or my fav, basic mp3 player controls to control what I have playing without needing to launch the app. Very cool.
Having a quick camera button is handy too. I often “missed the moment” on my iPhone clicking the button to power on the screen, find the camera launching icon, then wait the few seconds it always seemed to take for my camera to load. With the N900 I click the camera button twice no matter what I am doing on the phone and I’ve taken a picture. Nice! Oh, and between the LED flash, quality lens and 5MP camera, the picture quality doesn’t even compare. In fact, I had a Sony point and shoot camera that was a couple of years old and besides missing the optical zoom, the N900’s camera at least compared if not bettered the picture quality of that…. even with my incredibly shaky hands!
Here’s some samples…
And the sketch app… considering the phone has a full QWERTY keyboard and a touch screen, I feel lucky that they also blessed us with a touch screen compatible with the included stylus. It really takes the Sketch app to another level. I guess the only thing I immediately wish for is a “fill” tool… but that is because I am lazy. Here’s some quick sketches I did…
And I am not the only one who loves this app!
I guess, my only real complaint thus far is the lack of a really solid Twitter app. While I can do anything via the browser, I really like the way Tweetie (soon to be Twitter for iPhone) feels. After some discussion and assistance from some cool people on Twitter, I decided to go with Witter. I would likely eventually buy Gravity the way the apps are looking now as it seems the most complete app for Twitter, but as this is technically not MY phone I decided to use a free option.
Some other interesting things to note, if you don’t find an app in the Maemo repository or Ovi store, you can actually find it elsewhere and depackage it onto your phone yourself. That’s right, you don’t need to jailbreak your phone or anything because Nokia doesn’t lock their user down… you bought the hardware and are free to use it how you like within an open source world of downloads available to you.
This is getting to be a LONG post, I need to wrap it up. A few other items… Storage on the phone is great at 30GB… you can also expand that storage with removable media. Also, hey look, Adobe Flash! Weird, Steve…. it isn’t buggy at all. My battery seems to be fine as well. Huh….
Lastly, a humorous story… there I was doing whatever I was doing and I received a message alert. It was my nephew. He was chit chatting with me and I thought to myself “weird, why would he be texting me this, it’s hardly important.” Then I remembered… oh yeah, I don’t have to actually be in a program for it to be running. He was instant messaging me and I was being given alerts, reading, responding, then going back to what I was doing. It seems like such a simple and obvious feature…. funny that it was so new to me.
Anyway, I can’t say enough how much I love this phone nor how awesome it is that Nokia and WomWorld.com are running this program to show people like me what we have been missing. Also, as this is the longest post I have ever written, I will not be proof reading it because as I stated earlier… I am lazy. :p