Nokia's N900 has just been gifted a software update, though it's not the MeeGo v1.0 firmware we're waiting for (more bad news about that after the cut). Maemo 5 version 1.2 (v10.2010.19-1) is out in the UK today and will go global by the end of the week; it boosts email support, adds Facebook IM chat, video calling and portrait-orientation browsing, together with tweaking Nokia Ovi Maps.
Nokia's N8 certainly seems to be creating some hype for the Finnish company, and we can't imagine that's going down too badly at Nokia HQ. Currently being picked over is the N8's ability to hook up to an external hard drive and access its files - something that we actually knew from the spec sheet back on the day of the N8's launch, since that detailed the USB on-the-go support - together with rumors that a 32GB N8 is planned together with the 16GB Nokia announced.
Of all the mobile device companies out there today, you could make a strong argument for calling Nokia the most misunderstood. Fresh to the table this morning comes the Nokia N8 - capably specified and distinctively "of" the company - a device that on the face of it should slot somewhere in among the Droid Incredible, iPhone and Nexus One for lustworthiness. While the company press machine will happily tell you that more than 1.2bn people, worldwide, use Nokia devices every day - and Nokia enthusiasts can legitimately rival Apple fans for their rabid levels of devotion - there's already a sense among many that the N8 is just the latest flawed icing on a misguided corporate cake. Where is Nokia going wrong?
Nokia have officially announced the N8 smartphone, the handset we saw prematurely reviewed (and somewhat panned) yesterday, and the first from the company to pack a 12-megapixel camera with Xenon flash, HDMI connectivity and Symbian^3 OS. As we've heard before, there's a 3.5-inch 640 x 360 capacitive touchscreen, GPS and 16GB of built-in storage plus a microSD card slot.
Video demos after the cut
You could certainly make a strong case for the Nokia N900 being the most hack-friendly smartphone on the market today, and the reasons for loving the Maemo beast just keep on coming. After Firefox was ported to the N900, Jacekowski took it on himself to port Google's Chrome browser for the smartphone, complete with Flash support.
Nokia have announced free Ovi Maps worldwide walk and drive navigation for S60 handsets, complete with turn-by-turn spoken directions, traffic information in 10 countries and both online and offline functionality. The new software - which will initially be available on ten S60 devices, including the Nokia E72 and N97 mini; full list after the cut - differs from existing smartphone PND apps by using vector rather than bitmap graphics; while that might not ostensibly mean much to most users, it results in increased Ovi Maps speed, less than one-tenth the data traffic and reduced battery consumption. Meanwhile there'll also be premium-style content included for free, such as Michelin and Lonely Planet travel guides, Time Out and wcities, and close integration with Facebook.
Updated with video demo after the cut
Nokia have pushed out a significant firmware upgrade for the Nokia N900, Maemo 5 PR1.1, and there are some key changes which will hopefully make it a more palatable device for business users. Top of the list is tweaked Mail for Exchange support, which means the N900 now supports Exchange Server 2003; previously the N900 would only work with more recent versions, despite many companies still using 2003 (or third-party equivalents of it, such as Kerio Mail Server installs).
In today's day and age controlling one device with another is pretty common place. You can control your thermostat with a SMS message, arm your alarm system or even use your Blackberry to control your home theater. Of course using your Blackberry as a remote requires a stand alone device and a $100 piece of software. For those of us lucky enough to own a Nokia N900 there is a new app called BlueMaemo which allows you to control a host of Bluetooth devices from your phone. Interestingly enough one of those devices in the Sony PlayStation 3.
Nokia has a problem: it is both the largest handset vendor in the world, by a significant margin, and the largest smartphone vendor in the world – again, by a significant margin. Yet it has never managed to crack the U.S. smartphone market, and it has begun losing market share even in its European strongholds, primarily to Apple, though RIM, Samsung, and HTC are also threats. Nokia admits that it was caught sleeping while Apple first redefined the mobile user experience with the iPhone, and then again when Apple reenergized app development with the App Store. Nokia’s initial response has been lackluster: adapting its existing Symbian S60 OS to support touch, applying that to a few phones (the 5800 and the N97), and stumbling in its initial launch of the Ovi Store.