[maemo-users] N810 for $180

From: Mark Haury wolfmane at gmail.com
Date: Tue Jun 16 07:54:11 EEST 2009
Peter Flynn wrote:
> 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".
 From what they were saying, they are not going to be *anything* like 
the current tablets: the form factor is going to be different, and they 
may even be phones. Don't hold your breath for an updated tablet.
>> 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.
That's been my point all along.

>> 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).
Nokia was for me a trusted name. It's a sad world when you can't trust 
*anybody*... :-(
>> 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).
No, I have an N800. The compromises the N810 made in order to add the 
keyboard are all showstoppers for me. Unfortunately, I think the 
upcoming devices are going to be even less what I want.
>> 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.
Not true. Most dedicated GPSrs have much less powerful hardware than 
even the N770, and the mapping applications available for the tablets do 
just fine, they just aren't finished.

>> 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 
> criteria).
I'm using GPE myself, but I've spent 6 months trying to fix the botched 
data import. There's just no way to reliably import data or specify 
corresponding data fields.
>> 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.
I have always needed to sync, import and export the PIM data for various 
mailing lists, etc. Keeping completely separate databases is a huge pain 
in the keester to manually keep everything in sync.
>> it can do basic text files, 
> It wouldn't be worth using if it didn't.
Leafpad is a great replacement for the built-in text editor.

>> 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.
I have yet to get Abiword to import or export Word or OpenOffice files; 
all I get is garbage. That's true not only on the tablet but in the 
desktop versions. Years ago when I first tried Abiword it was much 
better at that than it is now. Their insistence on using their own 
unique file format, together with its inability to work with other 
formats, is a major showstopper for me.
>> 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.
... which is exactly the problem; you have to encode everything 
specifically for the tablet. You can't just drag-and-drop existing files 
(unless they're really low quality) onto the tablet and go.
> 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).
Actually the calendar is the easy part; Erminig syncs GPE Calendar with 
Google Calenar very reliably. That's the one sync that *does* work. My 
problem is that I need to be able to print mailing labels etc. from the 
contacts, which can't be done from the tablet in any way, shape or form.
>> 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?
> ///Peter
There's been a lot of hype about the new crop of "MID" devices, which 
are basically clones of the Nokia Internet Tablets, but they're being 
very slow about actually coming to market. The Asus R50A is an example, 
but seems to have similar problems with unfinished OS and apps. I guess 
the price point keeps these companies from dedicating many resources to 
sorting them out properly because of the fear they won't sell well and 
make money, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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