[maemo-users] N800 as a Business Productivity Tool

From: Acadia Secure Networks acadiasecurenets at aol.com
Date: Sat Feb 17 00:09:11 EET 2007

Here are some thoughts on the use of the N800 and its successors  as a 
business productivity tool as well as a  fun, casual 
entertainment/consumer oriented device.

As one who has carried (in the early days lugged) laptops  and before 
that, dumb terminals, literally around the world for business purposes, 
and especially for that killer app, email, I was very interested in the 
possibility of a product/device that would allow me to intentionally 
"lose the laptop".

To that end I performed a somewhat (not too) risky experiment yesterday 
by NOT bringing my trusty laptop with me to a critical customer install 
of some broadband wireless (on both the WAN and the LAN side) router 
equipment but, instead, bringing along my trusty  N800 and, as I 
typically do, my  EVDO broadband service enabled mobile phone. Now I 
knew that if I really got in trouble I could count on this customer 
having plenty of desktop and notebook computer horsepower at hand but my 
goal was to not have to avail myself of that  contingency resource.

In short, the experiment was a mostly unqualified success. Using the 
N800  I was able to

    a) drill into the router admin http port  of the broadband wireless
    router from the 802.11 side to perform configuration via the www
    admin interface and diagnose configuration issues and,  later

    b) connect the N800 to my EVDO enabled mobile phone via Bluetooth to
    verify that the EVDO signal was in fact strong enough inside of the
    building where the router is installed to be useful for Internet
    access by test browsing Internet www pages from the N800.

Navigating the router admin port www pages was a little extra work 
(scrolling of 2 levels nested windows)  but with the N800 I was still 
able to perform the necessary configuration adjustments on the router. 
Although my mobile phone also has 802.11 capability I have found that 
the screen size of that device (a UTStarcom 6700) is just too small and 
not productive for real config work like I was performing successfully 
with the N800. The N800, with its full VGA and larger screen size, and 
www page zoom capability seems to be a very workable compromise to a 
notebook/laptop as long as the www site does not have stuff (e.g. 
active-x etc) that does not render/work in the N800 browser..

If I had had some of the standard network tools installed on the N800 
(e.g. ping, and perhaps even nmap) I could have performed further 
diagnostic testing of the broadband router EVDO network connection (e.g. 
to confirm that the firewall was enabled and working correctly).

Some additional observations/comments re: N800 usability:


    One interesting aspect of the N800 bluetooth capability that I
    discovered during this implementation project is that the the
    bluetooth signal was strong enough between the N800 and my mobile
    phone that even when the N800 was ~20 ft from the handset and
    separated by an inside wall and a cubicle wall I was still able to
    keep the pairing active and have broadband network access via the
    mobile phone

    Finally I want to mention that although I have used my mobile phone
    to browse the www while on the underground (subway)system in my
    area, the experience is much more productive when using the N800
    paired with the mobile phone, than using the mobile phone by itself,
    again,  because of the large screen size, higher resolution, etc. of
    the N800 vs a mobile phone. This is an environment where, especially
    during the crowding conditions during rush hour it is neither
    practical nor unobtrusive to whip out a laptop to try to accomplish
    some simple Internet related task. On the other hand the N800 paired
    with a mobile phone is quite satisfactory.


    www sites with embedded objects (e.g. flash) that do not render well
    or very slowly in the N800 browser. In this respect, ironically, it
    seems that the Microsoft www site including the Mobile www page
    works no worse than and, perhaps, a little bit better than Nokia's
    own www site in the N800 browser.

    As others have commented, the N800 mail client really needs
    improvement. It is nowhere year as useable useful as the Windows
    Mobile 5.0 (I call it Outlook-lite) client on my handset. For
    starters, although the N800 allows the user to create multiple
    mailboxes, it only seems to maintain one set of IMAP folders. This
    is a non-starter.

    There needs to be a reader for Microsoft word .doc's, Excel .xls
    files, and Powerpoint .ppt files Perhaps a stripped down version of
    Openoffice would be a workable solution for this requirement.

    The bluetooth Icon should remain in the system tray (or whatever it
    is called) even when Bluetooth is turned off. Or at lest the option
    to configure it to do so should be made a configuration option for
    the tablet-top. This would make it faster to toggle the bluetooth
    receive on and off if there is a difficult pairing situation with
    another balky bluetooth device.

     When entering text, a cursor position count should be shown. This
    is important when entering text that has to be a certain length,
    given the fact that sometimes a "touch" on the touch screen does 
    not register. This was a problem when I was entering WEP keys for 802.11

    Just as there is an icon/applet in the system tray to change/view
    status of the display it would be helpful to have an icon/applet
    similar to the "network connection"system tray applet in Windows
    XP/Vista to provide one click display of network config parameters.
    Perhaps this could be provided via another menu option on the
    already existing N800 icon/applet for the network connection,
    something like "display current connection properties".

    That is all I have for now. I look forward to further exploration of
    the use of this device as a business tool and I will continue to
    share my thoughts and ideas with this list.

Best Regards
John Holmblad


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