Nokia N900 Live Session Notes, Impressions, Videos (2.5hrs)

Updated on 21 October 2009 by

Thanks to the 850 people that dropped in to the session last night. We ran for about 4 hours and in that time you racked up 940 hours of viewing. That’s a lot of attention so clearly we’re getting something right with the live reviews.

The first thing to note from last nigh’ts N900 session is that there we didn’t find any show stoppers. Sizing is clearly an issue for some but within the bounds of the size of the device, Nokia have done an incredible job and married it with a software stack that is fit for the next-generation of ‘computing-first’ handhelds for both the geek and consumer community. Pricing appears to be acceptable to our target audience too. Over 85% of those voting in a poll during the session said it was value for money based on street prices we’re seeing of 500-550 Euros.  In Germany the N900 is already free from some third-party resellers with high-end contracts.

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In the first part of the session we took  a look around the hardware and discussed some of the key points related to the hardware. We highlighted that the front-facing cam, consumer IR and FM radio don’t have any software support yet and talked about the issue of portrait mode which, apart from the size, is the most restrictive element of the device. Currently, unless you are in phone mode, there’s no way to really use this device with one hand in portrait mode. Nokia know about this though and are talking about covering it in a firmware update later this year.

Full coverage of the N900 in our N900 information page.

On the positive side though, the N900 gets praise for its interleaved ‘conversations’ panel that brings in notifications from SMS, Gtalk, Skype and other networks into one notifications system. See this in the second video. In the other direction, the sharing feature with its plug-in support is going to easily allow third parties to provide an authorization and sending channel for many many web-based services. Flickr, pixelpipe and others are already supported.

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The browser has to be one of the best we’ve seen on a pocketable ARM-based device. Full javascript support and full Flash 9 support elevate this above others and because of the impressive processing power, finally open up the world of online web-based apps to the smartphone user. YouTube videos (low quality versions, not HQ or HD) played back in windowed and full-screen mode with fluidity. Some video codecs seem to be missing but this might be because we’re dealing with a pre-production sample here. DivX support goes up over 4mbps so I’m expecting H.264 to work at 2mbps which is about the bitrate you’ll find on a YouTube HD video. When Adobe get 10.1 working on the N900 with the video decoding hardware it’s going to be heaven for YouTube fans!

Continued on next page.

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