Nokia N900 video: PIM support is pretty strong on this Internet Tablet
In addition to the phone integration, one area lacking on previous Internet Tablets was integrated PIM support. You could add 3rd party solutions for your Calendar, Tasks, and Contacts, but it wasn’t always a seamless easy solution to get working and rely upon. I was pleased to see Nokia include these clients in Maemo 5 on the Nokia N900 and have mine syncing via my work Exchange server. Notes is also present on the N900, but these do not sync via Exchange and I haven’t tested out if they sync via the PC Suite connection. Check out my video below for a walk through these three PIM areas on the N900 and please excuse the areas I had to cut out to keep my specific contacts and calendar entries private.
I find the Calendar to be more functional in many respects than the calendar present on the S60 platform, but there are still a couple of minor areas I would like to see improved upon. You can view your calendar data in month, week, and agenda views, but no daily view. I prefer the agenda view most of the time so a daily view is not vital for me. You can walk through the calendar wizard and setup multiple calendars to use on the N900, but I don’t see any way to set up something like a Google Calendar that syncs with the online Google Calendar. I actually figured there would be a way to have your Ovi calendar synced up, but that may be coming in the future. Different calendars are assigned different colors so they are easily distinguishable in the agenda, week, and month views.
When creating a new event you can enter a title, location, time or all day, calendar to assign the event to, alarm time, and description details. Handy date and time selectors appear when you tap on the day and time settings. I need to have privacy settings available since I keep all of my personal appointments set as private on my Exchange account. The only repeat options available are for every day, every workday, every week, and every month. There are no custom recurrence options such as every Monday and Wednesday, etc. which is what I tend to use more frequently with soccer practices and other activities.
Overall, the calendar works well and is very usable and viewable on the excellent N900 display.
Tasks do sync via Exchange, however they are pretty worthless to me since only a single line of the task appears. I tend to add description/details to my tasks and the only thing you see with these Tasks is the specific task name. You can choose a date for the task and which calendar to assign it to, but that is it. A very basic utility that doesn’t give you any priority setting or other functionality.
Even though I do not have Notes syncing with Exchange, I wanted to touch on them for a minute since there is an option from within the calendar to go to your Notes. There is not much to say about the Notes application since you are presented with a simple box to enter text notes into and then the option to select which calendar that note is associate with. Handwritten notes are not supported here and I did not see any other functionality in the Notes program.
As I mentioned in my look at the phone functionality the Contacts application is quite powerful. Very similar to what we see on the Google Android devices, availability via different clients (Skype, GoogleTalk, etc.) is supported visually on the N900 in the Contacts application. You can see, and even sort, your contact list via availability so you can interact with them in real time via various means.
You can view your contacts by first and last name, last then first name with or without a comma, or by nickname.
The new contact entry fields are what impressed me quite a bit about the N900 since you can enter a ton of fields right from the device. In addition to a contact photo, first and last name, other available fields include:
- Cell phone number (home, work, no designation)
- Phone number (home, work, no designation)
- Email address (home, work, no designation)
- Google Talk info
- Jabber info
- Ovi by Nokia info
- SIP info
- Skype info
- Address (home, work, no designation)
- Web page
- Job title
Wow, have you seen any other mobile device that supports all of these fields?
FYI, when you are on the desktop you can just start entering a contact name with the keyboard and smart filter your contacts so you can communicate with them in a number of ways.
The lack of PIM apps was one reason I couldn’t use a previous Internet Tablet as a primary device, but Nokia fixed this issue on the N900. The Tasks and Notes still need lots of work and the Calendar needs a couple more items, but the Contacts application is just perfect for me. Is there anything else you want to see in the PIM suite on the Nokia N900?