N900 reader response; testing out submitted URLs
As I finally realized after one week and mentioned in my post on streaming radio content yesterday I don’t have to look so hard for Maemo 5 specific applications because the Mozilla-based web browser is so good that much of what you want to do on the device can be done right in the browser. I wrote about my kids liking it for their Webkinz site and decided to try out the browser for a few other functions that I wanted to perform.
The Google Android devices are the best at handling and integrating Google Voice and with the support for various VoIP clients on the N900 I would think Google Voice could be added in the future. In the meantime, I went to the website for Google Voice and it performed exactly the same as you see in your web browser on your Mac or PC. I was able to place calls easily and by doing so from the browser it performed the call back on the N900 and then connected to my dialed number. I was worried that it wouldn’t both connect to the website and make the call to the same device, but it worked well and the calls sounded just fine. You can also use the Google Voice site to send SMS and manage every feature and function in your Google Voice account.
UPDATE: I discovered a native Google Voice client in one of the Maemo repositories that works like a champ on the N900 and will be creating a post about that soon.
There is no YouTube application on the N900 and the Maemo one I found would not connect for me. I just went to the YouTube site and it performed exactly the same as it does on a PC or Mac browser. Videos play flawlessly right in the browser (as long as you have a good connection of course).
I am an ebook fan and thoroughly enjoy using my Sony Reader PRS-505, but also find the Shortcovers site and store to have good prices on ebooks that work on various devices (they support the standard ePub format). Shortcovers supports reading your library right within a web browser and since there is no ShortCovers client for the Nokia N900 (they do have mobile clients for the iPhone, Google Android, and other platforms) I decided to try it out in the browser of the N900. Keep in mind that you will need a wireless connection so you won’t be able to read using this method on a plane or area without a connection.
I logged into my Shortcovers account and selected a book to read. You can choose from 3 different sized fonts and then zoom into the book text to have it reflow and take up the entire browser display. I found that when you were zoomed in the fonts were a little fuzzy while they were crisp and clear when zoomed out. I then zoomed out and chose the largest font to read a book and it worked pretty well. I wish there was portrait mode and hope a toggle for this is since the ebook in portrait would work better than in landscape.
I hope that a Shortcovers client comes to the N900 or that support for the standard ePub format is added to another ebook client such as FBReader.
I had some hopes that Hulu might work and it does let you get pretty far into the site and start a video before you find that the audio plays pretty well, but video does not stay even close to in sync with audio. The default video screen size is about 85% of the full N900 display so if the video would play it would be just about perfect. I tried over both a 3G connection and via WiFi, but the video play was not consistent enough. It was definitely better over WiFi, but you only see a frame change about every 2-4 seconds so the video is not enjoyable at all. Audio does play pretty consistently if you wanted to use Hulu to listen to a show 😉 This may be something that works when a later version of the N900 software comes out, but I wouldn’t count on using Hulu at this time.
Other sites that people requested I try and the results are as follows:
- Grooveshark streaming music client (see post)
- Fox On Demand streaming video site (player is not supported on the N900)
- Bubblebox.com games site (loads up fine, but game are not playable and it looks like touchscreen support is main reason)
- Runescape.com game site (loads up, but then when you click to play you are asked to install version of Java not supported on N900)
- The N900 browser is pretty incredible, but as you can see it is not a full desktop browser that supports all available sites.