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
  • Birthday
  • Address (home, work, no designation)
  • Web page
  • Gender
  • Nickname
  • Job title
  • Company
  • Note

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?


16 Comments to Nokia N900 video: PIM support is pretty strong on this Internet Tablet

October 20, 2009

Thanks for the video… Any evidence of support for hosted SyncML servers, like Mobical or Memotoo?

October 20, 2009

N900 calendar looks nice. The colors in the video are washed out so it is impossible to see if in the week view in the colored boxes with appointments there is any text or not. The brightness of the display in your videos is too strong, so a white text on any color cannot be seen, colors tend to go to lightcolor and white. Maybe keeping the backlight on would make the display to not be so bright, or making the videos with a bit of natural light – ambient light would improve the visibility.

My questions are:

1) is any small font text with the title of the meeting in every colored box marked appointment?

2) how do sync with Exchange – can you do it over the air or you need the USB cable and the computer?

Matt, the videos are very good and informative.

Thank you, Architengi

Matthew Miller
October 20, 2009

Yeah, I have to figure out a better way to use my video camera with the bright display, sorry about that.

In the week view there is small font listing the subject of the appointment. It is quite small and only a limited amount of text appears, but it is helpful.

I sync with Exchange over the air, but when you plug in via USB there are options for PC Suite and USB Mass Storage mode.

October 21, 2009

I see you can enter birthdays for contacts. Do those entries then place something onto the calendar?

October 21, 2009

can you enter birthdays in the calender as a yearly event.

October 21, 2009

I understand that I can manually make a yearly recurring calendar event. However, birthdays are more easily managed when you only have to enter the date once. If I make a mistake, I fix the contact and the calendar gets fixed.

[…] en NokiaExperts Categories: Software Tags: calendario, contactos, notas, tareas, vĂ­deos Comentarios (0) […]

October 26, 2009

No, PIM support is NOT pretty strong. One can’t even have a day view! One can’t schedule complex repeating events. So far as I know, there is little or no integration between the contacts and calendar. Tasks are a joke. Notes, ditto.

If you want to know what a good PIM is, you should check Datebk6, Pocket Informant, and Agendus. If any of these were available for this device (or equivalent functionality), the N900 would be a top choice for people who have to manage their time.

November 8, 2009

The aviable fields in the contacts are not renameable like at the S60 Mobiles. This is a hard fault! :-(

What if someone has more than 2 private Mobile numbers and additional one for Work?

How to describe them?
A Field in the Notes?

What is the Standard number for SMS?

Not the best solution… :-(

Lim Yeng Chuan
November 14, 2009

What many current Palm users like me would like to know is:

How can we migrate our contacts over?

What many current Mac users, like me, would like to know is:

is it possible to back up / sync the N900 with Mac?

Critical PIM questions. Other than that, this N900 looks super! Very tempting – in fact, we hope to see it in Asia, Singapore.

December 11, 2009

I am enjoying my n900 it sure ise’nt the ready to go device I though it would be.

What’s missing from the n900 PIM:
1) Search function. I cant search calendar notes or tasks or contacts notes!
2) Tasks do not have a description or the attached note!
3) no category sync from Outlook!

January 3, 2010

Well, it seems that we all have to wait for improvments in the next firmware just like we got used by Nokia years and years now. I am a Nokia loyal, since the beginning of GSM network (20 years or more). I must confess that the legentary nokia ease of use is not the case in this masterpiece. The basic and most often used fanctions , should be there, on the first line, available and complete at any time. MMS is important, SMS to many using a contact group is most important. Battery life I expect will improve as we experienced many times in the past on other nokia phones. Waiting for the improvments, I still use also my N97, especially while on the move or when I do not have enough time to dig to find applications or take alternative steps for missing applications.

April 26, 2010

Does anyone know if it is possible to search for contacts by Company Name on the N900?

May 14, 2010

“Does anyone know if it is possible to search for contacts by Company Name on the N900?”

Paul, the n900 PIM is rather sad, as mentioned in the article and my post above no search or description field for notes.

you can search contact though from the desk top. you cant do it with one hand though searching contacts requires 2 hands (bad UI). you slide out the keyboard and start typing the name, (works similar to palm this way) – it only works from the desktop screen, and works well for names only. (no other search on the device)

Ritesh Raghuvanshi
November 14, 2010

how can i send a calender event to someone?
either by bluetooth or an sms?
plz help?

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