06/21/11

Nokia N9

So, the long awaited Nokia N9 (Lankku) has been launched as expected at CommunicAsia 2011. Specs are as follows (just in case you don’t already know):

CPU – 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 OMAP3630
RAM – 1GB (unconfirmed true 1GB or including swap)
Storage – 16GB/64GB (Non expandable)
GPU – PowerVR SGX530
Battery – 1450mAh
Display – 854×480 AMOLED WVGA 3.9″
Camera – 8MP Carl Zeiss F2.2 Wide Angle Lens with 2x LED flash

In a nutshell, the specs are a little disappointing. The most exciting thing in the specs is the inclusion of an F2.2 lens.

What is even more annoying is that all of the things that the majority of geeks loved about the N900 had been abandoned in the N9.

Swappable batteries? Gone.
FM transmitter? Gone.
Flash support? Gone.
Hardware keyboard? Gone.

I’ll wait for more information from people who’ve had the chance to play with device before I pass my final judgement on the Nokia N9.

Is the N9 a worthy successor to the N900? Time will tell!

Also announced was the N950 (aka Dali) – a developer only device with hardware keyboard and “slightly” lower specs than the N9.

06/3/11

Nokia N9/N950 in Malaysia

So, here we are again!!! This is the first post detailing my quest to acquire a Nokia N9/N950 in Malaysia. All this is based on the assumption that the N9/N950 actually does exist and is running MeeGo/Harmattan.

Initial scouring of the Internet at this point in time suggests that Nokia will be announcing/releasing a phone on the 21st of June 2011 – rumour has it that it will be the N9/N950; Nokia’s unwanted lovechild as a result of luring Intel into bed as Friends-With-Benefits for a few months. Opinions differ on whether or not the N9/N950 will be the first and last or just first MeeGo phone from Nokia; some say the N9/N950 is only being released because it was close to completion when Nokia decided they wanted to bang the MILF (Microsoft-ILF?) instead of the naive young nymph known as Intel. Time will tell!!!

Anyhow, as usual, I’ll update the site whenever there is more information or news on availability of the N9/N950 especially if it has to do with availability in Malaysia. Who knows, if the N9/N950 is real, maybe Malaysia will get it before it’s obsolete like what happened with the N900!!!

10/26/10

Nokia N900 PR 1.3 Changes

Latest software release for Nokia N900 is 20.2010.36-2 *

  • Nokia Ovi Suite support added
  • Performance improvements

That’sthe official changelog. As with most other people, I really couldn’t care less what the official changes are. I want to know what’s under the hood. So, here’s a quick overview after I’ve messed around with PR 1.3 for the past couple of hours:

  • things are generally faster even at the default 600MHz after the update to PR1.3 – thanks to the “Performance Improvements” mentioned in the official changes I suppose?
  • Ovi Maps STILL DOES NOT HAVE TURN-BY-TURN navigation. The Nokia N900 is STILL the only Nokia device on the market with GPS capabilities that DOES NOT have turn-by-turn navigation. Somewhat odd IMHO given that the N900 (probably) has the most powerful hardware amongst the Nokia arsenal?
  • Power kernel still works fine with PR 1.3; making the N900 EVEN FASTER. I’ve been using my N900 at 1.1GHz for awhile now, and now with the increase in performance thanks to PR 1.3, I’ll definitely be using the N900 up till the day I get my N9.
  • UPDATE 2: Flash is still the same version used on PR1.2 – No Facebook videos for you yet.

This is what I’ve noticed or tested so far. I’ll try to update this whenever I find something new.

Also, if you are unable to update OTA, don’t panic – I wasn’t able to either. Just use PC Suite (or Nokia Software Updater, I can’t remember which) to update your N900 to the shiny new PR 1.3 🙂

UPDATE: There is apparently a list of bug fixes available here.

01/9/10

The Nokia N900 – Nokia’s Saviour?

Been about a week since I got my N900 here in Malaysia; a quick bitesized review:

Battery Life
Pretty bad. I’ve never even considered buying a car charger for any of my previous phones (and believe me when I say I’ve had a lot of phones). So, me ordering a car charger for the N900 should give you an idea of how bad the battery life is. It’s even bad enough that I just keep the phone plugged in to a charger whenever I’m at home. Right now, I’m typically getting 6-8 hours from a full charge. There’s some talk on the Maemo forums about battery life suddenly (drastically) improving about 2 weeks into usage so we’ll see what happens then… but for now, I’m going to have to say the 1320mAh battery Nokia decided to include for the N900 is a fair bit short (the 1500mAh N97 battery would still probably be a fair bit short but likely a little better).

Apps
One of the things that iFanatics typically heap praise on is the abundance of apps for their beloved iPhone. The Apple AppStore has 100000 apps (or something to that effect)… of which most people use (maybe) 20 of. The Maemo store has about 100 apps, of which I personally use about 10. The word ratio comes to mind but I can’t quite figure out what to say with it. The heavily anticipated apps have yet to make their way to the stable branch of the Maemo store sadly; VLC, Vagalume, etc. are all still in extras-devel. Firefox (Fennec 1.0.0) just made it into stable about 5 hours ago.

UI
4 desktops, integration with SkyPE and GoogleTalk (and MSN to come apparently?), Expose style multitasking. If I don’t say something negative right now, iFanatics may hunt me down and kill me. So, it isn’t as “smooth” as the iPhone (occasionally when I’m doing 10 different things). Enough said.

Hardware
Somewhat undecided on this. The 600MHz ARM CPU may be a tiny bit slow considering the availability of the 1GHz Snapdragon CPU on various other available and upcoming phones. 256MB RAM (with 768MB swap for total 1GB in theory), hmmm, a little short too. PowerVR SGX GPU… fair enough. Not too shabby, could be better… but then again, if I have 6-8 hours of battery life with these specs, would I have 2 hours if I had all the specs I wanted?

Camera
Holy crap?

Conclusion
Well, compared to the (completely horrendous) N96/N97 (which I both owned), the Nokia N900 could be the holy grail, the reinvention of the wheel, and the 7 wonders of the world… all rolled into one. Unfortunately for Nokia, compared to everything else that’s available on the (global) market (ie. Motorola Milestone, Google Nexus 1), while it isn’t behind by any means… it isn’t something that would make your eyes pop out of their sockets either.

On the other hand, if you take into consideration that the N900/Maemo 5 is what Nokia calls step 5 out of 6 (the end product being the N920 (rumored name) based on Maemo 6), then I supposed you could say that things are looking up for Nokia. The question is if Nokia will choose to piss off the majority of Asia AGAIN by not officially launching the N920 (again, rumored) here.