At CTIA, we sat down with Nokia, who gave us a demo of their N900 tablet, a device that fits somewhere between small tablet and smartphone, much like the HTC Athena. Unlike traditional Nokia phones that are powered by Symbian, this device runs the Nokia’s version of the Maemo OS, which is built on top of Linux, has a sliding QWERTY keyboard, resistive touchscreen, and is highly customizable.
The N900 made a big splash early on as the device was said to support the full version of Adobe Flash 9. However, since then, Nokia’s lead has diminished as Adobe has announced that the full version of Flash 10 will be coming to most major smartphone platforms, including Windows Mobile–that means desktop-class browsing on your Windows phone.
The funny thing is that I ran into some Nokia reps at an event later that evening and Nokia was boasting about the device having USB hosting capabilities and can serve as a miniaturized personal computer. Sorry, Nokia, but hasn’t that idea been done before–years ago even? Even the “PDA-era” Toshia e740 performed the task of USB host to connect HID devices (keyboards, mouse) and hard drives to the little Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 device. Today, the Toshiba TG01 is supposed to continue the USB hosting tradition with Windows Mobile 6.5. While I admit the design and software of the Nokia N900 really stood out, they’re boasting the wrong feature set to someone who has been following the PDA/smartphone industry for well over a decade.
What stood out about the N900: visual bookmarks, cool widgets, large display, attractive industrial design, visual task manager.