One of the key focal-points of the N900, and one it does better than any other smartphone I’ve seen to date, is the browsing experience. Fast, reliable and supporting a full flash plugin on an 800×480 screen with finger-focused controls it tries to do what desktops do, in a fraction of the size.
Like other small-screen browsers it has the same screen real-estate issues where pixels don’t help. Fingers cover large areas of the screen when browsing. Top and bottom toolbars hide 30% of the content area and standard web fonts require a zoom to read and reduce the size of the effective window even further. Until we get to the stage where expandable screens become thin, cheap and reliable enough to design into a pocketable device, the issue will remain.
Given the constraints, Nokia, the Maemo teams and partners have done a good job. It will get better too as Fennec becomes available next year and includes features like slide-in/out toolbars, synchronization features and plugin support and then, in 2010, better again when Flash 10.1 is introduced and enables 3D and video playback improvements.