Gear65 #93: Nokia N9

We take a look at Nokia’s beautiful new smartphone, the first, and unfortunately the last as well, running a custom Meego implementation by Nokia.

Link: Nokia N9

  • Matti

    I just got one, reason because it’s the only true “smartphone” out there, imho, contrary to your opinion. Actually, yours was the first site I visited for reviews before I bought the phone, but then I visited various Linux forums and blogs and found out the truth.

    This is what I’d call a true dev phone. After rooting (which is just a matter of turning on developer mode in the settings… no ROM flash hickery like on Android), I actually get a terminal where I have access to Debian packages. For anyone who has use Debian GNU Linux, you know about the APT packagement system. Add some repositories and pin apps and libraries accordingly, and I basically have access to 1000’s of apps. Sure, not all are for smartphones, but all are basically portable with a little work.

    Brillian phone, overall. Surprised how bloated Android is, with it’s requirements for dual core processors to get smooth operation while this thing with a late 2009 spec SOC gives me almost buttery smooth gestures (unless you bombard it with a ton of open apps, same as every phone).

    Agree with you on the browser though. Not the best, but I’m running Fennec (again, downloadable via “apt-get install”) which is sorta a mobile version of firefox.

    • Haha that’s not a smartphone, that’s a true Linux phone or a true “smart person’s phone”! I’m not smart enough to do what you’re doing with it, but if I was good at messin around with Linux i’d get it and do epic things with it! The average guy on the street won’t even know what Linux is let alone Apt-get. But that’s a great tip though! Didn’t know it was so easily rootable.

      • Matti

         Heh, don’t worry. I’ll still visit your site for reviews and news, since I live in S’pore and all.

        I agree that it’s not a device everyone would like or be comfortable with. I guess it’s a more cerebral thing for me, since it’s a truly 100% open platform (unlike Android which is still pretty open but not fully).

        I had big hopes for Android, being a big Linux, BSD, open source user, but with every passing year, Android seems to be becoming the Windows OS of the market. If you don’t get what I’m saying, just look at the laptop/notebook scene. Many different manufacturers/oems selling you Windows systems, each with different types of oem apps/bloatware (you know, free trial of some anti-virus, Acer media center, Toshiba energy saver…etc). I was considering getting a Galaxy Nexus to replace my Nexus S, but in the end, it felt like the same thing all over again, just with a shinier interface. Apple on the other hand, are in the same position they always were in, just with more market share in the phone sector. iOS is still pretty much a closed system, even if it is a very polished one.

        Sad that Nokia’s CEO killed Meego without giving it a fair chance (I suspect a lot of money involved between parties, since he’s basically a MS schill and former employee). I truly feel, for a “version 1”, it’s way better than what Apple or Google started with. Hopefully we’ll reach a day where it’ll be easy to install and alternative OS on any phone, cos that’s when I see the handset market truly blooming and opening up, encouraging innovation.

        Now I’m off to compile a new kernel for my N9. Might work, or I might brick it (factory reset FTW!!), but I’ll have a ton of fun doing it. Yeah, I’m geeky like that.


      • Matti

         Oh, almost forgot.

        Here’s wishing you and your team a Merry X’mas and a Happy New Year~!!

      • Thanks! Same to you!!

      • I totally agree with you on the “version 1” being much better than what Apple or Google started with. I actually do love the N9, both hardware and software. It’s just a pity, like you said, that Meego wasn’t given a chance. I suspect the decision was made before it was finished, and given Meego’s previous attempts earlier, if I were him I wouldn’t have expected them to do such a good job with the N9’s software… It’s a drastic change and improvement from the previous iterations. Like if I wasn’t told officially that the N9 is actually running on Meego, I wouldn’t have believed it.

      • Oh, and that’s what I kinda meant by it not really being a smartphone in the consumer sense, because it doesn’t and won’t have a big ecosystem of apps. Cos I think consumers would actually like the N9. It’s just harder to compete with Android and iOS because of the lack of apps. Unless you know how to root it, of course.

Daniel Tsou is our fabulous host, who decides mostly what we talk about and basically calls the shots, Yes, he does. I, writer of this bio on Mr Tsou is very much afraid that by commiting this post to words, I will be dragged off in the night by a black Truck, or a Segway more like. Other than that, Daniel is tall, lived for a period of time in Venezuela and Spain, and is enthusiastic for all things tech.
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