WiMAX N810 Dies On The Vine

The WiMAX version of the N810 was never anything more than a curiosity this side of the pond given the limited availability of WiMAX even as a trial. Now it looks like Nokia have had enough of the tribulations of being a WiMAX front-runner and pulled the N810W from the shelves – indeed one report even suggests that dealers have been asked to return unsold stock to Nokia.

Its a shame that WiMAX never took off, but the various interested parties don’t seem to have done a very good job of delivering a credible system either side of the pond.

However, now that Nokia have proved that the N810 hardware will support a WWAN connection why not stick a HSDPA chip on instead and give the N810 new life ahead of its imminent replacement with a new hardware platform to support Maemo 5?

Fourth Generation Must-haves – Part Two

imagesHaving looked at what I consider the third generation internet tablet’s biggest hardware shortcomings its tine to look at where the software is lacking.

This actually amounts to less of an issue, as the very nature of software is that it can be fine-tuned, allowed to evolve or be replaced completely if necessary. That said some of the flaws which existed in earlier revisions of the OS still exist in the current Maemo release.

The biggest bug-bear remains email. The default client is dire and replacements offer only limited improvements. As new competition arrives on the market its unlikely that this situation will be acceptable to any of the target market. A full-featured client which looks less Soviet and supports niceties like HTML mail and Exchange Active syncis an absolute requirement for the new OS.

After email, multimedia handling is the next biggest issue – an iPhone, for example, manages music, video and photos brilliantly, in a slick, clean interface that draws users in and absolutely sells devices. And whilst Canola is good – very good actually – its also slow by comparison. Some optimisation and a little tidying of extensions should make for a class-leading media platform.

Next item to be addressed is video-calling. Why put the camera on unless you are going to make it easy to do video calling, by which I mean Skype. Give them money, resources, furry animals, in fact give them whatever it takes to get video calling into the Maemo Skype client. Once XP MIDS start arriving they will almost certainly have this ability.

The Internet Tablet needs a PIM. It needs to be a locker too – the Macs iCal for example or Palm’s own calendar app are both good examples of calendaring, contacts need to integrate with the email client, whilst Tasks should be handled as a mini-project ‘management tool, complete with hierarchy and timelines. It should also be possible to display tasks on the calendar on the appropriate days with reminder options. the calendar needs to support synchronisation – at least with the hugely popular Gmail calendar application.

Last change required is a really good Notes app, designed to handle free text notes handwritten on the screen: a little like Windows Journal on a smaller scale.

They say competition improves the breed – take heed Nokia, as competition is arriving in droves.

Fourth Generation Tablet Must-haves – Part One

images The N810 is the most accomplished pocket internet device to date. Yes I am including the iPhone in that assessment too. Having owned both for more than six months I can definitely say that the N810 has much more to recommend it than the iPhone – for internet use anyway.

However the N810 is far from perfect as a device and there are several issues that Nokia must address in the next version to ensure that it stays ahead of the MID and Smartphone crowd with its Internet Tablet range.

Firstly battery life. This just isn’t good enough for this sort of device – about two and a half to three hours of usage. Not nearly enough to manage a whole working day away from power, even with judicious use of the power switch. Usable battery life needs a minimum of a 50% boost before this can be considered an acceptable everyday use device. Four and a half hours as an absolute minimum. Ideally somewhere closer to six.

Still thinking about battery life and usability away from the mains it should be possible to warm-swap the battery for a new one. Now this requires the use of a small cell to power the device whilst the change is made, but this only needs to cover a period of 30-60 seconds depending on how easy it is to swap cells. This makes it feasible to carry multiple batteries for those times that you aren’t going to be able to charge from a wall socket for extended periods of time, but still want access to the functions of the device. An obvious link here would be the provision of a standalone battery charger to allow charging of multiple batteries for just such a purpose.

Finally on the power front the connection socket for the power adapter should be changed to a standard USB connection – micro- or mini-USB – and should handle synchronisation too. This is much more convenient and if you find yourself stranded without power any USB port and readily available USB lead will get you out of a jam.

Another hardware change that Nokia needs to implement is an adjustment to the sliding mechanism which reveals the keyboard. The gap between the top row of keys and the bottom of the screen when open is too small and this makes typing un-necessarily difficult. As the keyboard is one of the big selling points of the N810 that should really have been picked up before it got to manufacturing. Another flaw in the N810’s design is the positioning of the 5 way controller beneath the slide. This would be much more useful if available when the device is closed.

With these hardware issues addressed I believe that Nokia can move the Internet Tablet into a different league of performance than its rivals. Which leaves only the software side of things to sort out – and I’ll discuss that in part 2.

Back From The Dead

Of course I mean the blog, not me!

Its been a while since I posted anything here – concentrating on developing my more mainstream blog at randomdumber too much I guess. That and distractions like the new iPhone.

However I’m going to try and post more regularly about the use of Maemo Internet Tablets in a corporate environment, not least because its useful to see how a consumer device (which is how I see the tablets) compare against more business focused systems from Microsoft, Blackberry and Nokia themselves.

Reverting Back To OS2007

Don’t get me wrong, OS2008 is good, very good in fact. But its plagued with problems that are likely to take Nokia at least a couple more updates to fix. Whilst my N800 is attempting to be my main computer I can’t really rely on a flaky OS. All the same OS2008 is a visual feast and the additional performance of the CPU speed boost is most welcome.

Problems I’ve found are (in order of severity): locking the screen and keyboard doesn’t kill the display which negatively impacts on battery life, a large amount of third party software remains unconverted, Chinook repositories appear to be broken which means that some apps that are available can’t be installed and finally the new home screen can’t be easily used as the applets get dragged around when you don’t want them to and don’t when you do.

The big plus points are the new browser (very slick), new themes (likewise) and functional Youtube. All of which mean that you astound users of lesser devices with Maemo’s good looks and performance. Shame the processor speed boost can’t be maintained after downgrading back to OS2007 – which I’m currently in the middle of doing…

OS2008 Officially Available For N800

Nokia have made good on their promise to deliver the N800 upgrade to OS2008 before Christmas, with the files being made available through the Nokia Internet Tablet Update Wizard earlier today. Unfortunately it looks like every N800 owner is currently in the process of updating their operating system, so the server is massively overloaded. If you get as far as downloading the file you’ll be faced with a lengthy download, as data is transferring at 28k modem speeds at the moment…

Wallpapers For N800, N810

I’ve selected a few 800×480 wallpapers which I use on my N800′s home screen as backgrounds. The images are, as far as I know anyway, in the public domain, however they will be removed if I’m informed otherwise.

First four are attached.

abstract-angled-seas-1024x768.jpg Abstract Lunar Landscape

ferrari-599-gtb-manu-07_04-1024.jpg Ferrari 599GTB

heroes.jpg Heroes

spyker_f1_2007.jpg

Spyker F1 Car

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