After writing two posts regarding my views and impressions of the N900, one regarding the hardware (link) and one regarding the software (link), I simply wanted to write a quick wrap up of my overall opinion on the device. My overall opinion, is more than the sum of its parts.
Sense of autonomy
I really like how the N900 is an almost completely standalone device that I don’t have to pair up with a computer in order to use it, for the most part. Of course, I side loaded my music once, quite some time ago, and occasionally I hook it up to my computer so that I can download my pictures and videos for storage. For the remainder, though, this device is very autonomous and I believe it contributes to the feeling of having a mobile computing device, as Nokia likes to call it. I believe that the good connectivity, the large enough screen, and the key board all help to create a pleasant experience.
Open source nature
I am a bit biased towards open standards and open systems, because I believe in an open computing platform where different companies/products/services can work together and enhance each other through agreed-upon protocols/standards. The N900 really fits that picture as it is mainly an open source linux-based operating system where developers can access all parts of the device and use it as it pleases them. There are no software limitations imposed by Nokia. In a practical sense it may not always add such a large benefit, but it gives me the peace of mind that if someone develops (hypothetically, because it already does this) a Skype app that I can use it over 3G if I want to, or if someone comes up with a Google voice app that there is no one to reject it (Yes, this goes for Apple).
Good multimedia experience
The N900 is a very good device for consuming audio and video content. This is the first time I have had a smartphone that replaces my iPod. The only thing missing is the support for Audible audio books, but I realise it won’t come, so I won’t keep my hopes up.
Robustness or lack thereof
I always feel I have to be very careful with the device or that it otherwise gets damaged. I know in the back of my mind that it probably won’t, but I still always have that feeling of being careful when I put it in my pocket, bag, on the table, in the car, etc.
Support for Maemo 5
My main worry is that Nokia will not properly support Maemo 5 so that it can be a good Operating System for 2 years, mainly due to the release of MeeGo/Maemo 6 later this year. So far we have had two firmware updates, I think, but I just have the feeling that the N900 will be a forgotten device. When you pay 200 euros for the device, maybe that is not such an issue, but if you pay the full unlocked price (like I did) then you want it to be reasonably current, software wise, for 1,5 – 2 years. My main hope is that Nokia will at the least continue updating the Qt packages for Maemo 5 so that it can run MeeGo/Maemo 6 software based on Qt without a big hassle.
Overall score: 7,5 out of 10.