Tag Archives: N900

Does Nokia CARE?

This is still NOT good

I was both excited and concerned when Nokia launched the N900 mobile computer last year.  Excited because it meant the slow-developing product line was continuing… but concerned due to past problems with reverse logistics involving the N900’s predecessors.

It’s starting to look like the concerns were justified.

By far the most popular article on this blog has been the one describing my experience with a microUSB failure on a pre-production device.  That bothers me.  For one thing I’d rather see that sort of attention on the pieces oriented around best practice and technological exploration.  But that growing popularity also indicates a growing number of failures– not just on the devices themselves, but in Nokia’s handling of the cases.

Before I get deeper into the current situation, a little background and history:

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maemo.org growing pains

Nokia’s launch last year of the N900 mobile computer introduced a bit of disruption to their normal business model.  The ripple effect naturally propagated down to the lowest levels and had a huge impact on the semi-independent community, maemo.org.

Before subjecting you to an epic article, I want to point out that change was anticipated, but have to admit with some embarassment that when talk of adding cellular capability to Maemo devices gained traction, I was one of those naive souls downplaying the potential impact.  I assumed two things, both unfortunately proven incorrect:

  1. the consumer cost of a phone-capable tablet would be fairly low
  2. Nokia would platform the product and continue offering “slate” form factors with no cell phone embedded along with cell-enabled models

But others more prescient grasped very early that even if either or both of these played out (which they sadly didn’t), adding that GSM/UMTS radio introduced the devices to a largely different demographic… one that could significantly shift the priorities of maemo.org.

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Maemo 5 gift keeps giving

And hot on the heels of the little Maemo firmware update from the other day, here’s the other shoe dropping: http://conversations.nokia.com/2010/01/14/nokia-n900-software-update-part-2/

I think I hear the sound of happy N900s… not to mention maemo.org community members relieved to see the release accompanied by a Nokia announcement.  😉  Oh, on that note: http://wiki.maemo.org/Maemo_5/PR1.1.

Fire ’em up!

Post holiday present from Maemo… and Ovi

Twitter and maemo.org are buzzing with great news: you no longer have to wait on the Nokia N900 firmware upgrade I teased you about.  That’s right: a new update, 1.2009.44-1, is now available.

Lack of Nokia-generated buzz along with the version number suggests that this is apparently a minor release and meant as a precursor to something bigger to follow soon.  Yes, “soon” is a vague political word but I don’t have a date.

But it must be a banner day for Nokia as well as customers, though, because as small as this update may seem it comes with Ovi Store support.  That’s right, the long-promised N900 knob to the Ovi Store door is here.

Initial access success was reportedly mixed, as the greenlighting appeared to occur on a region-by-region basis.  Some URL tricks were necessary at first for some but the ever-resourceful maemo.org community figured it out quickly and had eager users buying games like “Angry Birds” in short order.

The Ovi Store access has also been said to be accompanied by a nice improvement to the Application Manager, something long requested and overdue.  Sorry, no screenshots yet– I still don’t have a replacement N900.  However you can catch a glimpse at some N900 technical blogs like maemo-freak.com.

Today proves once again that big things can come in small packages.  And it’s still speculative, but I’m betting these advents precede an announcement regarding T-Mobile US and the N900.  We’ll see…

Maemo community outreach: Dallas open source Saturday

This morning I officially kicked off my version of Maemo community outreach efforts, by joining my first meetup of the Dallas Open Source Saturday group.  We met at Los Lupe’s TexMex restaurant in Addison, north of Dallas.  The seating was decent and the breakfast tacos were very good in my opinion, but drawbacks for the location included lack of wifi, too much loud music/talking and inability to use TV for presentations.

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Maemo Fremantle PR 1.1 community test

In a tremendous show of trust and good faith, Nokia’s Maemo team has invited certain maemo.org community members to test pre-release Maemo firmware designed for the Nokia N900.

Currently being without an N900 means I have to sadly decline the invitation to participate, and I’m only mentioning this to the world at large to demonstrate proof of the slow-but-steady progress of Maemo toward increased openness.

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Connecting on the surface: an N900 risk

I had just got to being really comfortable with my pre-production Nokia N900, odd little UI quirks and all.  But thanks to a bit of carelessness, I lost use of it and found a potential problem for every user.

I am in the habit of using USB-to-microUSB cables to charge devices with this capability.  While working on some project at my home workstation, I had the N900 happily sucking up electricity on top of the PC tower to my left.  Unknown to me, the usb cable had looped near the floor and was waiting for some object to hook it.

That object turned out to be my chair.

By scooting back a bit, I inadvertantly launched the N900 off the tower and a few feet through the air to the wooden floor below.  It was not a big fall, and not as violent as I make it sound, but I was irritated nonetheless.  Still, it seemed to check out okay… but to be on the safe side I relocated the device to a remote table out of the way, and plugged it into a regular charger there.  I returned to my work certain all was well.

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