Tuesday, 31 May 2011

My Nokia N800

I've recently purchased a Nokia N800 Wi-Fi-only internet tablet. I've wanted one for quite some time since I read an article in Linux Magazine on it when it was originally released back in 2007.

This one has been very well looked after, boxed, has a spare stylus, original paperwork and original 128MB memory card. Of course the first thing I did was replace that with a couple of 2GB SD cards (it takes one internally and one externally, up to 32Gb each). I haven't fully tested the battery life on it yet but it seems pretty good.

The N800 runs Maemo, a Debian based OS that Nokia used to use all the time on it's phones. It has the 2008 OS and third party repositories installed. It's built in Application Manager reminds me of that of a 'proper' Linux distro and of course it already had an X terminal installed. Since it's based on open source software there is still a thriving community for apps and mods for Maemo devices.

My favourite app for it by far is Pidgin (instant messenger), it's great to having it on all my Linux PCs (along with Adium on my Macs) and my N800. There are also various useful plugins for it in the package manager. You can also install apps using apt and dpkg just like a Linux distro.

I also love the built-in email app, it was easy to setup Gmail with IMAP and I like the way it notifies of new messages in the left panel and by flashing the 4-way pad blue, although I couldn't quite get GMX to work with it. The N800's web browser is based on Mozilla and works pretty well, and I've had no problems browsing my usual sites. It's perfectly happy browsing quite a few full sites too, like Facebook, rather than the mobile version . It also came with Skype for it's built in VGA camera which pops out the left-hand side of the unit and swivels 180 degrees. For video playback though, Mplayer is far better than the old media player it comes with, as it plays higher quality videos and newer codecs with ease. Other useful apps (along with many others) I have installed are VNC Viewer, ssh, gFTP, x11VNC, mCalendar, MediaBox and Canola (two very swish media suites) most of which can be installed either from maemo.org or from the App Manager on the device.

I'm very pleased with it to say the least, it's what I've always wanted and it suits me nicely since I don't use 3G and always wanted a portable Linux device for Pidgin, VNC and ssh, the only thing that's missing is a usable Twitter client since most of the ones that are around have fallen because of the oAuth-apocalypse.
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