The release of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich caused lots of rush among the manufacturers. Each of them separately announced about its plans of updating the handset to this newest version of the Android OS. In parallel we have enthusiasts porting this version of the Google OS to handsets originally coming with another operating system.
At the moment we have the Nokia N900 running ICS. Drunkdebugger ported the OS to the handset. Though the process is still in its early stage, he called it “pre-pre-alpha.” This means porting the OS to the handset is not recommended. The enthusiast used NITdroid project steps. This is a well-known project, which brings Android to a Nokia handset.
Too bad we are not able to get much info about the experience results, as the video only allows to have an overall idea. The lockscreen of the handset seems to be OK, while the software works with various bugs.
Most likely in upcoming few months enthusiasts will work on the improvement of the project.
According to the Gartner- one of the major analyst firms, during the first five months of the sales, Nokia could sell only about 100 thousand N900 smartphones. According to the experts, the device failed to attract the attention of a wide range of customers and did not affect the positioning of the potential competitors.
The company Nokia itself declined to comment on the data announced by Gartner. The representative of the Finnish corporation only said that the company is quite satisfied with the sales of N900. “Its sales significantly exceeded our expectations” – was said at Nokia.
For comparison, 2, 5 months after the release of Nexus One, there were sold around 135 thousand copies of the smartphone from Google. The experts call this the result simply a disaster. During the same time Motorola has realized 1.05 million models of the smartphone Droid.
Though the flagship smartphone of the Finnish mobile manufacturer is oriented for the ease-to-use of the consumers, but it was updated to version 1.2 operating platform Maemo 5, which brings improvement of the communications.
Support for video calls and Facebook chats is now added. Accepting or rejecting the invitations to the event can now be done directly in the user’s mailbox to your inbox. Web surfing is also offered in portrait mode of the display.
Subsystem menu is easy to configure, while navigation with mapping service Ovi Maps got update to graphical user interface to simplify the search for the points of destination.
The set of new games are available at Ovi Store, including Jurassic 3D Rollercoaster, Zen-bound, Angry Birds, Sygic, Kroll, Weatherbug and GoGadget.
However, it was not without disappointments: Nokia is not going to release operating platform MeeGo, developed jointly with Intel for Nokia N900. It is alleged that Maemo 5 in any case, ensures the most appropriate implementation and transfer of all the opportunities of N900, while it should noted that the device is developed to work based on Maemo.
Google Android platform is officially supported by many manufacturers, but not Nokia. The Finnish company intends to develop its own operating system Symbian and MeeGo without helping the competitors. However, this situation does not suit enthusiasts. Attempts to install Android on powerful N900 were made several times, but the last project NITDroid seems more successful.
The video shows the operation of Android 2.1 on Nokia N900. According to the source, the main functions of the google OS work on the device. In addition to the high-end model, programmers are working on NITDroid for tablets of N8x0 series.
Last month, in addition to Nokia C3 and Nokia E5 with QWERTY-keyboard, the Finnish manufacturer has introduced Nokia C6. It is based on Series 60 5th Edition and has absorbed much from N900 and N97. Nokia C6 will be available in two colors – black and white. Below is a selection of photos of black C6. It seems to look less impressive than the white one.
Anyways Nokia considers the C6 to be an available smartphone for communication. However, the phone includes small number of applications in this segment – not all manufacturers pay attention to touch QWERTY-solutions.
It turns out that the experimental smartphone of the Finnish giant is mostly able to launch a variety of operating systems. Previously Windows 3.11, Windows 95, Windows 98, Android 1.6, MeeGo, Moblin were used in the gadget. Now it is turn for the latest Android 2.1.
Google-system on the Nokia device for geeks supports keyboard and touch control. Installation is carried out within the frameworks of NITDroid project, which participants are engaged in the transfer of Android on the N900 and a series of N8x0 tablet devices .
At the moment, Android 2.1 on Nokia N900 loads Bluetooth- drivers, but without their full support; drivers for Wi-Fi are built into the kernel, card of flash memory and built-in flash space are defined, but not yet installed.
Despite the fact that Nokia N900 has long been prepared and sold in most of the countries, in Taiwan the device has been released only recently. In this region the Finns set the price of N900 at the level of 22.100 local dollars, which corresponds to 697 US dollars.
As you already know, Nokia N900 is one of the latest top devices from Nokia, based on Maemo OS , and not on Symbian. The specs of the device include a 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, built-in full QWERTY keyboard and a 3.5-inch resistive touch screen.
At the same time, DigiTimes resource notes that Nokia is planning to publish data on the devices based on Symbian 3 and Meego in the nearest future. Their announcement and the commercial launch will be in the second half of 2010. This information has become available from industry sources, their reference materials, which most often serve as a reliable source for the formation of forecasts.
Sometimes we come across a situation when we cannot get rid of the distance separating a group of people to organize a physical conference. Here it’s much better to use the option of conference calling either via the landline and cell phones.
The simplest way to do so is to use smartphones. They will be providing an opportunity to connect people with explicit numbers to the same “meeting room”. And this not only gives an opportunity to connect people without paying for the airline and other means of transportation, but also save money on the long distance calls especially in cases when you have an opportunity for the free conference calls.
Conference calling needs to be organized while taking into account some of the most important issues. Firstly you should make sure that your device fully supports conference calls opportunities and learn the best ways for making free conference calls.
As one of the most reliable models we can mention Nokia smartphones due to their opportunities of much better connection capabilities: they offer you strong reception and call qualities which are the most important items for the teleconferencing. From the wide range one of the best options is Nokia N900.
Overclockers-enthusiasts have discovered new potentials of the processor installed in Nokia N900.
The flagship model of the smartphone from the Finnish manufacturer Nokia N900 has become a real surprise for those fans who can not imagine life without overclocking and increasing the productivity of the devices where this feature is not officially supported.
Today it has become known that the processor of the smartphone running at standard frequency of 600 MHz, has been overclocked to record of 1700 MHz. Let us remind, that earlier we wrote that the overclockers have reached the stable operation of the device at a frequency of 1 GHz, but today this threshold has been overcome.
Unfortunately, such an extreme overclocking is likely to severely harm the entire system, but the fact is that the clock frequency of Nokia N900 was increased more than twice if compared with recent results of standard values.
When talking about Nokia N900 we shoud start talking about Symbian operating system, the traditional stronghold of Nokia in the sphere of smartphones, which unfortunately demonstrated the inability to compete as an equal with other mobile platforms – Android, iPhone OS and Windows Mobile. Though the update of the system which was proposed one and a half years ago brought commercial success, it once again pointed to the functional limitations of the OS.
The “roots” of the smartphone go back to 2005, at the start of the Maemo project. Within its frameworks only three models were released (not counting the N900), which can be described as PDA, rather than smartphones – they lacked GSM-module. As a matter of principle it predetermined the niche value of these devices, they really interested the enthusiastic buyers fascinated with technology.
Maemo 5 version has undergone considerable changes as compared with the previous one, the manufacturers tried to implement current trends in the interface; hardware features also received weighty updates. And though the fate of development of specific Maemo 5 was an open question in light of the merger of the OS with Moblin from Intel as MeeGo, the production of the new generation of Nokia smartphones will continue.
N900 is made in the form factor of side slider and looks very large, even against the background of other smartphones. The device is simply a perfect rectangular block with slightly rounded ends. The thickness of the device is especially distinguished; it is almost 2 cm, which is not typical for modern phones. In general, the size and weight are large, they require habituation and make the model a more masculine accessory.
Opaque plastic is used as the main case material. Such a decision may arouse discontent with “status” refusal, which is expected from a device of this class. However, this choice is due to the tendency to reduce the rather impressive weight of the device. Besides, plastic is perhaps not the most reliable, but rather practical material (fingerprints and scratches are not noticeable on it). The bezel and back of the upper half of the slider are made of metal.
The quality of assembling does not give rise to unfavorable criticism: the phone does not creak when squeezing. Doubts about the reliability may be caused by the plastic stand, masked under the rim of the camera – it really should be used carefully. The slider mechanism has no tweaking, which is because of horizontally oriented structure (the distance for the extension of top panel is relatively small). Therefore, efforts should be made to open the device.
On the front panel at the left edge there is an indicator (notifies missed calls or unread messages, other events), the voice speaker is in the centre. To the right there is an eye of additional camera and approximation sensor (turns off the display during a call when the phone is pressed to ear).
On the left side (in landscape orientation, this is the low side) no additional elements are included, and on the right side volume control key, power key and camera button are concentrated.
Stereo speakers are located on the upper and lower ends. In addition, at the upper end microUSB-jack is placed (not covered with a stub), and at the bottom there is the lever of screen lock, a 3.5-mm audio jack and a stylus.
The large size of the smartphone is predetermined by the hardware specs (large display, presence of a physical keyboard, etc.). Taking into account the fact that most often they are going to be controlled with both hands, the size should not be considered as a shortcoming. In this regard, only the negative attitude to the “bricks” can become an obstacle for the acquisition of N900.
The use of phone’s ergonomics in most cases is calculated so that the device will be held in two hands. This concerns typing, and manipulation of the stylus and finger control. The exception is, perhaps, only the use in portrait mode.
The keys are divided into three rows. Due to the large width of the body it is very convenient to use the keyboard. Each row has 13 keys (“Space” at the bottom corresponds to the size of two ordinary buttons). Despite their unity, tactile transition between the keys is noticeable. The space between the buttons is small, but pressing is clearly fixed.
As elements of cursor control there are four keys responsible for various directions (up, right, etc.). This is a more suitable variant than the separate navi-block (as in N97, for example). The latter occupies more space and prevents from keyboard “stretching” along the whole length of the shell.
Function keys are located on the left edge of keyboard block (upward) – Shift, functional and Ctrl. Almost each button has two purposes: to enter the main character (in most cases – letters) and additional (in conjunction with the function key). If you press the function key successively/without breaks, it will be “locked” and when pressing the buttons additional characters will be introduced. This is convenient in case of necessity, for example, for sequence of figures (phone number, password).
Implementation of the keyboard made a positive impression. Despite the placement of keys in three rows (which is usually not sufficient for a comfortable set), it is very convenient using the keyboard.
The matrix with physical diagonal of 3.5 inches has a WVGA-resolution (800×480 pixels). We are pleased that Nokia has finally put one of its models in a range of top smartphones of its competitors – N900 does not fall behind with the specifications of the screen. The image quality raises no objections: the image is very clear, colors are deep and natural. Watching high-resolution videos on such a display is really a great pleasure.
In natural light the screen “goes blind”, but the image remains visible. The range of brightness is rather wide. It allows to perceive the image in total darkness without any problems. But in bright ambient light intensity of illumination may seem insufficient.
The resistive technology of screen’s sensor is a controversial issue. On the one hand, it is definitely inferior to capacitive finger control: in order to fix the press, you should not touch, but instead press on the screen.
With the purpose to reverse the lack of sensitivity of the resistive touch screen the manufacturer had used the technology of “kinetic scrolling”. It is expressed in deliberately increased sensitivity of the screen, which is used for scrolling (quite comparable with the sensitivity of capacitive touch screen). Indirectly the effect of this technology is confirmed by the registration of a single touch to the display (characteristic sound notification), as a result of which, however, the transition to the selected item is not made.
On the other hand, the choice in favor of resistive technology makes control through the touch screen more universal. In cases where accuracy is required (small elements of interface, drawing), the stylus becomes more preferable in comparison with fingers.
Maemo 5 and MeeGo
Mobile OS Maemo 5 is a software platform for N900 for a short while. In the next 1-2 months official MeeGo firmware will be released for this device. Presented just a few months ago (at the MWC 2010), the operating system for MeeGo mobile devices is tandem of development of two companies – Nokia and Intel. If previously the vendors developed their own projects (Maemo and Moblin) independently, now their efforts are combined.
Such an initiative is due to the necessity to present a really serious competitor to popular mobile operating systems – Android and iPhone OS. One group has already tried to develop its own full-fledged competitor to the platforms mentioned above, but its attempt failed. The matter concerns the WebOS from Palm. Nokia that presents Maemo 5 on a single device (similar to Pre for Palm), was primarily in the same boat. The project risked to be closed in a vicious circle of limited popularity (considering the narrow range) and insufficient support for the platform (a small number of compatible programs).
MeeGo operating system provides the Finnish manufacturer with the second breath to win back its position in the segment of smartphones. First of all, Nokia receives valuable allies in the person of Intel and mobile manufacturers, interested in this platform (from major producers LG has already announced it). Secondly, the combined platform will be made for use not only in smartphones, but in other devices as well (browsers/navigators, netbooks, and so on). In this case there is an obvious analogy with the “sphere of influence” of Android. Thirdly, the unification of the operating system components is intended to be a stimulus for developers to actively develop and thus directly support the viability of the platform.
The first screenshots of MeeGo version were demonstrated, which confirms the upcoming significant upgrade of the device reviewed.
Nevertheless, Maemo 5 became a weighty milestone in the development of the appropriate direction of Nokia. That’s why the platform deserves a separate description.
One of features of the OS (which has been criticized and as the screenshots of MeeGo show, has now been fixed) is its operation only in landscape mode. Such orientation is suitable in many applications (view of media files, surfing), but the lack of choice opportunity between the variants of display is disappointing. In fact, only one standard application supports work in portrait orientation – dialing.
The main screen consists of several pages; their quantity is regulated by the user (up to 4). Pages are scrolled in the horizontal plane. Shortcuts to applications, contacts, web pages and widgets can be placed on them. The set of the latter is small (map, line of Facebook updates, RSS tape), but their number will increase along with the installation of third-party applications that support widgets (Associated Press news or Foreca weather forecast).
At the top of the screen in the centre the block of system information is placed (hours, active profile, the level of signal reception and battery charge). Pressing on it you can edit the profile details, enable or disable the wireless connection. A similar menu is displayed in case of a single press on the off button.
The main menu is a matrix of 3×4 icons. It actually does not include folders for the unification of labels; each application is displayed directly in the main menu. On the first screen the first 11 references and the virtual button “Advanced” are placed, the latter opens the list of all the other utilities when clicked. Through a virtual button in the upper left corner of the screen the main menu may be displayed. If an application is running its first press will direct to the “Task Manager”, where the opened programs are displayed with reduced copies.
To exit from the context menu or return to the previous layer it is necessary to touch the blank side of the screen. Selected “back” button is not provided in the interface.
Thanks to the interface oriented on landscape mode, in most cases the physical keyboard can be easily used. If there is not such an opportunity, a virtual keyboard will appear when you click on the input area on the screen (required if the slider is closed). Its elements are of sufficiently large size, there is no way to make a blunder.
Installation of applications is implemented in several ways. The first is to download them through the Ovi store. It is not presented as a single application, access to it is made through a standard browser (the shop is displayed as a web page). The downloaded file will automatically install the program on the phone with the help of application manager. Another way is to load the distribution into the memory of the device.
A characteristic feature of the platform is the “Terminal” – a line for the prescription of system commands. This detail shows that the model is intended for enthusiastic people, who have an idea of Linux and who are ready to modify the device themselves.
The implementation of PIM and multimedia features is not new to anyone. Only the browser is worth to be mentioned. Today, a standard Maemo 5 browser is probably the most functional among mobile browsers. Its functionality, the display of internet resources is too close to the “desktop” version. The absolute advantage of the browser is the full support for flash-content.
The lack of multitouch support led developers to use an alternative method for page zoom: for a smooth approximation it is necessary to rotate with finger clockwise, to zoom out use the opposite direction.
Of course, Maemo 5 has a number of shortcomings such as lthe ack of USSD-requests support, the operation of WLAN-connection when GSM is switched on. However, these details do not spoil the overall impression about the platform as a promising material for modification by the user.
The heart of the device is the ARM Cortex-A8 processor with 600 MHz clock frequency (enthusiasts have made attempts to overclock the processor to 800-900 MHz). In addition, it provides a separate accelerator for handling PowerVR SGX graphic. The device includes 256 MB of RAM and 32 GB internal user memory, from which 768 MB can be allocated for the virtual memory. There is also an opportunity for microSD memor card installation.
It should be noted that the smartphone demonstrates a high performance. Without any difficulties it is capable to keep several applications in the background (for example, chat window or web page) and at the same time play graphics in a video or a game without pauses.
The device is equipped with a 5 megapixel camera. The images taken have high level of clarity. Depending on the lighting conditions (natural or artificial) intensity of noise considerably varies: in case of insufficient light the quantity of noise can significantly damage the quality of the picture.
Video is recorded in a resolution of 848×480 pixels. When you use the zoom objects can be smeared, but on the whole the videos are not distorted.
Except for much noise in low light, the camera offers decent quality pictures. It will fully satisfy the need in unplanned shooting.
Battery life is really promising: in case of periodic use of internet connection (about an hour a day) and 20 minute talks a day the battery needs to be recharged once in two days. If you do not disable data transfer and use the smartphone for listening to music (about one and a half hours), you will have to charge the battery daily. Nevertheless, this is a good indicator of battery life for the class of devices the N900 belongs to.
The smartphone has a productive filling and ergonomic exterior (in particular, convenient keyboard). The success of Nokia N900 largely depends on the release and subsequent intensive development of MeeGo OS. However, now the model already shows interest for enthusiasts who like to study in detail and independently convert the device, to realize its hidden potential.
Of course, support of only such audience will not make N900 popular. Buyers who actively use mobile phones for internet surfing may also be really interested in the smartphone. A large amount of memory and a quality display will satisfy multimedia inquiries.