Through work, I got my hands on a Nokia N900. When it was first pre-ordered, the release was supposed to happen in October. It then got delayed and delayed, and finally exclusively delayed in sweden (yay!). After what seemed like forever, it arrived at the office yesterday.

Ferris wheel in malmö

Before I say too much about it, I should state some simple facts that might colour your perception of what I’m going to say about it:

  • I am a professional GNU/Linux developer, and my primary tools are ZSH, Git and Emacs.
  • I’ve never owned an iPhone (although b has one she’s had for over a year, so I’ve played with one).
  • My previous phone was not a smart-phone at all, it was a Sony Ericsson w880i.
  • I have zero experience with Nokia phones or tablets before this one.

That said, here’s my 2 second review:


  • Beautiful screen.
  • The camera has autofocus and takes pretty good photos.
  • SSH! client + server. I update the phone through a terminal on my laptop. That is quite awesome.
  • Debian Linux behind the scenes. Tools I’m familiar with.
  • No problem importing my contacts (though I had to jump via my computer).
  • MicroB is alright as a browser, feels just as fast as the browser on the iphone to me.
  • Flash (meaning youtube).
  • Plays video like a dream. Xvid, m4v, anything.
  • Ogg and flac support (naturally, just have to install the right .debs).
  • Open development means I can fix bugs when I encounter them instead of learning to live with them. I’ve already filed a bug for and patched one program to fix an issue I encountered.


  • The touch screen is finicky, and scrolling in lists tests my patience. This could be a software issue, I’m not sure.
  • Not much software yet, and even less software that is optified.
  • Haven’t gotten email working.
  • Pretty much no games. There is Quake 3, Baldur’s Gate, Scummvm and a bunch of emulators closing in (so maybe this should be under good)?

My conclusion right now would be that if you’re a programmer, you want this phone. If you’re an active open source developer, you definitely want it. If you have an iPhone, you might as well keep it. The N900 isn’t a better phone, and there is way more software for the iPhone.

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