Nokia N900: We’ve been busy

I love how full-on Nokia has launched the new N900 handset. We work so much on the underlying technology that it’s a welcome reminder how users feel emotionally about the whole product. The enthusiastic response is real encouragement for our developers. But don’t be confused by Nokia’s odd emphasis on “mobile computing” in their text – this is a highly capable smartphone that’s about communication and lifestyle rather than mere computing for the sake of it. This is their latest greatest phone – the one that people will hunger for.


For a year or so we’ve had to keep the secret that Nokia want to make phones with Linux, though every other major handset company was already doing it, because it make so much more sense than fighting the eccentricities of all those in-house proprietary platforms. I’m glad we can talk about it now, though we have vague orders to not to go into too much detail until Nokia World 2009 next week.

This product has been the major part of our work at Openismus, and is the reason for our growth, keeping Mathias, Jan Arne, Daniel B, Karsten, and André very busy and determined, with the others helping and learning so we can build on our success. Soon the code will be in our hands.

13 thoughts on “Nokia N900: We’ve been busy

  1. It looks pretty awesome and I look forward to hearing a lot more about it… but this focus on “it’s a computer” sure is confusing. When I first heard mention of it yesterday, I went to the device’s homepage:

    And I had no idea it was a phone! It doesn’t say anywhere on there that you can TALK on it. Sure, they mention GSM, but only under the “fast wireless broadband” section, so that still doesn’t indicate that it’s an actual phone.

  2. Shame the site doesn’t mention Maemo is Debian based. Hell, shame it doesn’t ship with pure Debian.

  3. Nokia N800 and N810 were great devices and Maemo absolutely rocks. I used Nokia’s first gen smartphones from day one and each time hoping the next one would be better. Eventually I just could not be bothered any more with the Symbian platform. Then Nokia released E60, E61 and E61i. I thought finally there’re some Symbian devices that were worth money. I said to myself I’ll give Nokia another go, so I bought the E71 almost immediately after it’s released on 3 UK network. Guessed what, after 6 months, the “Ovi Share” stuff stopped working, the “push email” I paid for was temperamental and no firmware updates. Then I saw the upcoming N97 and I thought may be Nokia would get it right on this one. After playing around with N97, I was hugely disappointed with Nokia, again. Now Nokia has got the E72 just round the corner. For the sake of you guys and Maemo, I hope the Nokia N900 is not going to fuck it up again. They’ve lost the plot and had no idea what the end users want. They need to understand the concept that users want to buy the next upgraded Nokia device not because Nokia is no longer supporting it and they can’t be bothered to fix any reported bugs. Users want to buy the next upgraded Nokia device because they love the old one!

  4. 4 years ago, this would have been a no-brainer, but to buy this phone solely on its technical merits does not make sense when you can get an iPhone or even a Windows Mobile phone with a *ton* of apps. Even after 3-4 years, the are few decent Maemo apps to choose from, and the prospect of replacing GTK+ with Qt (and likely breaking compatibility with existing apps) is not exactly an incentive to run to the stores either. Which is really a pity.

    I think the only thing that could rescue Maemo now is Nokia actively promoting it to run on Netbooks and hardware from other handset makers, and a widespread incentive program to port existing Gnome/GTK apps to Maemo. Then again, Moblin already seems to be enjoying more momentum than Maemo ever had, and who needs yet another incompatible Netbook solution. What would make the most sense is a Clutter-based spec for fullscreen apps that is supported by Gnome, Maemo and Moblin. That’s the only way to compete head-on with Apple, and the only way to get more than a handful of unmaintained apps for your phone.

  5. On a lighter note…

    Want to create world peace from iPhone? There’s an app for that.
    Want to teleport yourself with your iPhone? There’s an app for that too.

    Want to play tic-tac-toe on your Maemo? There’s crap for that.

  6. Congratulations, this is such an amazing device both in the hardware and the software. Thinking of all the possibilities makes me very excited. The UI especially is magnificent.

  7. Nokia has end-of-lifed this phone’s software stack and is going with Qt. What developer is going to spend time developing apps for an already obsolete platform?

    I covet this phone! But I’m probably going to skip it and buy a phone that will still see active development in a year or two.

  8. @bronson: Nearly all components in the Maemo platform will continue to see active development.
    It’s only GTK that becomes community supported in Harmattan while Qt becomes officially supported.
    Hence I wouldn’t call it an obsolete platform because you replace one component out of many (an important component though, I agree).

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