Nokia N9 – first impressions

For once I decided to get myself a really snazzy phone. I must say, I’m impressed. After listening to the amount of crap others had to go through to get android based phones “rooted” this was a breeze in comparison. Simply activate developer mode, realize you get a terminal option added, open the terminal, go devel-su, enter “rootme” as the password and … et voila – the phone will now bend to your will with a unanimous “yes master”.

Most people don’t buy a phone to hack it though, so all things considered, and keeping in mind I am a first time “smart phone user” I must say I am extremely impressed. The phone has a (in my opinion) slick design, has a good weight, screen size is in my opinion “just right” and the clarity of the screen is good. Joining the phone to my WPA2 secured networks was a breeze (especially when compared to the pains I had in even getting WPA working on my older E52).

Some other niceties that smart phone users are already quite used to:

* Unified notification system (skype/facebook/sms/rss feeds) all “just work”
* Address book synchronization
* Calendar synchronization with other devices (via Bluetooth).
* Highly configurable.
* Good amount of memory (16GB).
* Design is very slick.
* The device feels responsive – much more so than my E52.

A few specific things I was hoping for.

* A SIP client (Initially I thought this was lacking – located it, supports multiple accounts, G.729, quality sounds quite good even over 300ms round-trip jittery wireless link!)
* CalDAV support! Yes, this means generic calendar sync coming up! No need for weird tools. CalDAV is the standard – supported by all, except I think Outlook. Bwah Outlook :(.

Mostly for developers, but still beyond cool:

* Built in VNC server! Yes, this is freaggin AWESOME! (Phone display + control on your PC)
* ssh access (root login disabled by default – simple to fix, recommend not allowing password based logins, ssh keys only though)
* Qt4 based SDK with development tools made freely available (downloaded, not yet up and running, seems to be one of those “rape my OS please” installers and I haven’t had the guts yet).

The basic itself is pretty much a Linux kernel with busybox slapped on. The UI is a variant of Xorg (no, I kid you not!). Bunch of other things running, like udev and the like. Honestly, this is linux. I feel right at home. Doesn’t have gcc installed by default though. Perhaps not quite that at home :p. Then again – I’m not sure I feel comfortable compiling on such a “limit” device such as an ARMv7 processor clocking in at around 1000 BogoMIPS (My i7 Laptop for comparison sake has a total of 27663.61, or 3457.73 per core). All things considered, that is not bad at all.

A few things that is lacking out of the box though, which for me would be awesome:

* A XMMP/Jabber client. This for me would be ultra cool.
* VPN (l2tp/pptp) client.

And from other providers:

* No support yet from WhatsApp. Not a show stopper but I do have a few friends that I keep contact with via WhatsApp. Seeing that it seems to be based on the XMMP protocol one might be able to hack in some support if one can cook up/locate a jabber client for the phone.

Now, the one thing that I find both surprising and extremely worrysome is that whilst the built-in 802.11 has n capabilities and in client mode supports WPA2 the built in wifi hotspot only does WEP. I mean WTF?!?

Next step for me is to see if I can get this thing to sync with Thunderbird/Lightning on the tasks + calendars :D. The Nokia E52 wasn’t doing too well in this department …

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