[maemo-users] N810 for $180

From: Peter Flynn peter.flynn at mars.ucc.ie
Date: Tue Jun 16 02:28:35 EEST 2009
Mark wrote:
 >> What's the replacement for the N810?

> There is none. From the details they've given thus far, the next 
> generation of Maemo devices are going to be completely different than
> the current tablets, with incompatible hardware therefore
> software/OS.

I don't care if they are different inside and run a different OS 
(assuming they are still Unix-based and not Microsoft :-)  What I want 
is a pocket computer the approximate size and weight of the N800 which 
does the same stuff, but a bit faster and a bit higher rez and more 
flexible memory/"disk".

> Once again, you totally misunderstand and misrepresent my arguments. 
> What I'm saying is that the ITs are marketed to anybody who will buy 
> them, including clueless consumers. (Buy.com is a huge 
> consumer-oriented site, not an obscure company catering to 
> developers...) But Nokia treats them like developer's toys, and 
> doesn't support them the way they should. Nokia is the one that is 
> speaking with forked tongue.

I think that's too harsh. I just think Nokia's management was badly 
misled by Marketing into believing that ITs were a viable concept. 
Perhaps they were for a brief time. What they missed was the vastly 
bigger market for pocket computers.

> I bought my N800 because I took the bait and thought it was a 
> consumer-level device because of everything I saw in the sales 
> material. I was duped.

I'm sorry to hear that, but caveat emptor. I'm afraid that after 30 
years in IT I never believe a word of the sales material, even if it's 
written by the engineers (the only people you can actually trust).

> I like my tablet, but it's turned out to be nothing but a toy. It can
> do lots of neat things, but in every area it falls just short of
> fulfilling its potential: 

I think you said you have an N810. I can't compare directly because I 
have an N800, and I've never even seen an N810 (and unlikely to here 
[Ireland] because Nokia just closed down their local store, and they had 
never seen an N800 until I brought mine in to show them).

> it can display moving maps, but can't actually navigate; 

I never expected mine to do that anyway. I knew it was theoretically 
possible, but the processor is waaaay too slow for mapping apps, the 
BT-connected satellite receivers are way too expensive, and the data 
quality of the free maps, even OpenStreetMap, is hopelessly inadequate. 
I have a perfectly-working TomTom, anyway.

> it can do PIM-like things (after installing third-party apps), 

I've already described elsewhere the errors made in selecting that 
particular set of built-ins. But the GPE apps are adequate, although no 
more than that (the authors need some more experience with usability 

> but can't easily and reliably sync all of that data; 

I don't keep my PIM data anywhere else but the N800 (and backup) so that 
isn't an issue for me. In nearly three decades of using pocket devices I 
have never needed or wanted to synch the PIM data with anything else.

> it can do basic text files, 

It wouldn't be worth using if it didn't.

> but the shipped app uses a proprietary format and it can't open or
> edit any actual office documents;

Same answer as for PIMs: the shipped apps were worthless. AbiWord 
provides all this and more. It's not the world's most wonderful 
interface, and it's got bits missing, but it's fine to open and save all 
the formats I have fed it so far.

> it can be a media player, but is limited as to the formats
> and especially video resolution/bitrates (it can't even do native 
> screen resolution, only a quarter of screen resolution);

With Andrew Flegg's tablet-encode script I have plenty of perfectly 
working pr0^H^H^Hmovies (enough for two transatlantic flights and two 
long car/train journeys and a couple of boring hotel evenings) within 
the limits of whatever brain-dead DRM it can work around.

Plus I can do my email, news, blog, tweet, chat, manage my servers, run 
Emacs and Saxon and XSLT and LaTeX, wordprocess, spreadsheet, Skype, 
Gizmo, and that's about all I need right now.

> Maybe *you* are never offline, but anybody who needs offline access to
> their complete contact database/schedule/etc. *does* need a PIM. And
> who wants to carry around multiple devices when one is enough?

I just carry the whole damn lot on the N800. Online or offline, I'm 
sorted. But I'm lucky -- I don't have to share my calendar with others 
(and I would refuse to do so if asked, anyway).

> I give up. You people and your straw-man arguments will never be convinced.

The tension seems to be between developers, who want a toy they can hone 
their skills on, and users, who just want a computer that works. These 
are two separate products.

So maybe I should have been more precise in my original question: Is 
there (or will there be soon) a pocket computer from some manufacturer 
(not necessarily Nokia) running a Unix-type OS of some description (not 
necessarily Maemo) that is broadly speaking a suitable replacement 
device for an N800/N810 user wanting an upgrade?


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