The Definitive Nokia N900 Guide

Nokia N900 GuideWelcome to the The Definitive Nokia N900 Guide. Nokia created the Internet Tablet devices starting in November 2005 with the 770. We then saw them roll the devices into the Nseries label with the N800, N810, and N810 WiMAX Edition. I used them from time to time, but found them to be a bit laggy and limited in their functionality. Nokia spent some time on their latest Maemo development and rolled out a fantastic new device, the Nokia N900, that runs Maemo 5 and has integrated cellular data and voice support. The device is even more compelling for those of us in the US on T-Mobile since the device supports the unique 1700 MHz frequency band that T-Mobile USA uses for 3.5G data and voice. The more I use the device, the more I come to love the capability and functionality of it.

It remains to be seen if the Nokia N900 will be offered officially by T-Mobile USA, but at this time you can order it from a number of online vendors with launch occurring in November 2009. While the 3.5G data is only supported on T-Mobile, AT&T customers can use the N900 with an EDGE data connection. The best experience in the US is definitely through T-Mobile USA. I was sent an early pre-production device so keep that in mind when reading some of the older posts below as there should be more improvements and optimizations in the device when it is publicly available.

The true test of what I think of a mobile device is if I go out and buy one for myself. I am happy to report that I have indeed purchased my own Nokia N900 from Amazon and am now rocking away on my own device with the eval unit returned to Nokia so someone else can try it out.

In addition to the added phone capability and Maemo 5 OS, powered by Linux, the N900 gets a big bump up in processor speed to a 600 MHz TI OMAP one. Here are some of the other key specifications of the N900:
  • ARM TI OMAP3430 Cortex-A8 600 MHz processor
  • PowerVR SGX with OpenGL ES 2.0 support
  • Quad band GSM/EDGE with 850/900/1800/1900 MHz support
  • Tri band WCDMA with 900/1700/2100 MHz support
  • 3.5 inch 800×480 pixel resolution display
  • 256MB RAM and 768 MB virtual memory
  • Integrated 32GB flash drive
  • microSD card slot for expanded memory
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP stereo support
  • Integrated GPS with A-GPS
  • Integrated FM transmitter and FM radio
  • 5 megapixel camera with dual LED flash and Carl Zeiss optics
  • 3.5mm headset jack with TV-out support
  • BL-5J 1320 mAh battery

Review and experiences

Nokia N900 earns my top achievement award for 2009

I took a look back at 2009 and just had to select the N900 as Nokia’s top achievement of the year. Granted, the device just came to us publicly in the last month, but it is my favorite Nokia device at the moment.

Nokia N900 featured in the Smartphone Round Robin

If you want to see every other Smartphone Expert editor checking out the N900 and providing their experiences, then check out all the coverage in the 3rd Annual Smartphone Round Robin. Rene, The iPhone Blog, commented that I brought a netbook to a smartphone fight and I wasn’t playing fair :)

Full review of the Nokia N900 on ZDNet

I also maintain a smartphone blog on ZDNet and finally posted a full review of the amazing N900 for my readers there. It was a bit different than what you have seen here because it was from a perspective after using the N900 for two months.

First full thoughts on the Nokia N900

The Nokia N900 blows away the older Internet Tablets and may be the best mobile data device available.

Why not take a video walk around the device?

We did not post a video in the first hands-on impressions so took care of that later with some video footage.

The Nokia N900 has a Mozilla-based browser that impresses even kids.

The ability to login into and use Webkinz on the N900 was a big deal for my daughters.

N900 captured on video

Want to see one of the geekiest unboxings ever? Check out this N900 one.

When you need to enter a command line entry to open a box, then you know it is one for the geeks.

Google Docs and Calendar work just fine on the Nokia N900′s browser

If you want to create documents on the N900 you can do it through the browser and Google Docs.

Did you know that the N900 is an excellent mobile phone as well as Internet browser?

The phone capability is new in the N900 and Nokia does it very well.

The strongest part of the N900 just may be the web browser so check it out in action.

The browser has several excellent features and serves up the “full Internet” in most cases.

With Flash support in the browser you can enjoy games from sites like PopCap Games.

You can enable mouse/cursor mode and play some addictive, free Flash-based games right in the browser of the Nokia N900. I enjoyed playing Zuma and Bejeweled again.

Nokia added Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks to the N900.

There is no need for a paper calendar when you have the N900 in hand.

Nokia is known for excellent multimedia support and as you can see here the N900 doesn’t disappoint.

The 5 megapixel Carl Zeiss optics supported camera takes excellent photos and video while the 32GB integrated Flash drive holds lots of media content for you to enjoy.

Four more videos covering conference calls, messaging, settings, and games are shown in this blog post.

Conference calling is quite easy on the N900, messaging is well supported through email, SMS, and IM, you can customize many settings, and there are a few enjoyable games loaded out of the box.

Tips & tricks

Where can I find apps for the Nokia N900?

It may not seem like there are many apps for the N900, but if you look through this post you will see there are actually quite a few in different application catalogs.

What’s the best way to use Twitter on the N900?

One of my early gripes with the N900 was the inability to easily use Twitter. A couple months has changed that and we now see a couple of Twitter clients that are consistently improving.

Tips, shortcuts, and handy tidbits from the Nokia N900 User Guide

The N900 User Guide is packed full of information and we dug through it to bring you some of the best and most helpful information available.

The N900 User Guide was available for a while so we grabbed it for you to read and you can now find it here

The N900 is a mini mobile computer and I highly recommend you check out the full guide.

One of the cool N900 features found in a few select Nokia devices is the FM transmitter

The FM transmitter is great for listening to podcasts stored on the N900 right in your car with no wires required.

Every so often there is a need to tether your PC to your smartphone and I found this is possible on the N900.

The current solution only works with Windows PCs, but I am sure we will see other solutions in the near future.

It only took me a couple more days, but I figured out how to easily connect your N900 to your Mac and have it act like a wireless modem.

PC users shouldn’t be the only ones to tether and the Mac solution is actually quite easy and does not require Nokia PC Suite on the Mac to connect and go.

Streaming music content is enjoyable on mobile devices and with the N900′s browser you can enjoy some of these services.

Last.fm is the most user friendly and functional client available at this time.

Did you know you can also stream video live from you N900 to the Internet using the preloaded Qik software and service?

Qik lets you share video with family, friends, and others and even adds a cool N900 icon to the lower right of your video clip.

Responses to reader questions/comments

A reader suggest trying out Grooveshark to stream music.

The service does format on the N900 display quite well, but is very resource hungry.

Several readers sent in URLs they wanted to test on the N900.

The web browser can handle quite a bit, but some of these sites pushed too far for a mobile device. Check out my link above for a tip on how to enable mouse mode, which gives you support for more sites.

Other Nokia Experts N900 posts

Nokia N900 rocks along at 7+ Mbps on T-Mobile HSPA+ network.

My MobileTechRoundup podcast co-host Kevin Tofel is rocking a Nokia N900 and happens to be in a T-Mobile test area where HSPA+ has rolled out.

Nokia N900 local meetup gave hands-on time to several folks.

A small group of folks braved the heavy rain to join me in Tacoma to get some hands-on time with the N900 and lots of other Nokia devices. I also showed off the N900 at the local Puget Sound Handheld User Group meeting.

The unit we started with is a pre-production unit and we voiced some concerns early on.

The most annoying thing was lack of portrait support in SMS and no MMS support.

Several apps were included on the N900, but there are still more apps I would like to see.

Developers will be working on more 3rd party apps and we are seeing some in the Maemo testing repository so stay tuned for more to come.

Other useful Nokia N900 resources

Reviews

Links