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MacBytes
Nov 14, 2009, 09:13 PM
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Category: Reviews
Link: 15 ways the N900 is better than the iPhone (and 5 ways it's not) (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20091114221345)
Description:: For almost 3 years, Apple’s iPhone has set the standard for mainstream smart phones. Recently, Apple has taken over a large portion of the smart phone market, now manufactures like Nokia are taking the iPhone threat seriously and bringing out new phones to try to compete. One phone that looks like it has a real chance to compete with the iPhone is Nokia’s new N900 phone/internet tablet. Here are 15 ways we think that the N900 is better than the iPhone, and a few reasons why the iPhone is still better.

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

eastercat
Nov 15, 2009, 03:23 AM
The article makes some good points about what's missing from the iPhone. However, the lack of a physical keyboard doesn't bother someone such as myself. Also, I really like the multitouch feature. This article downplays that feature.
It's obvious this article is biased towards N900.

alphaod
Nov 15, 2009, 04:32 AM
Turn-by-turn directions for navigation is not available in the US.

M2M
Nov 15, 2009, 09:14 AM
Does the N900 support Unicode - that is Chinese, Japanese, Korean in one Firmware or is it the usual bull###t like language dependant Firmware ? Thate imo a great plus for the iphone - 1 firmware that supports every language and constantly growing.

Kilamite
Nov 15, 2009, 09:46 AM
I agree with the camera (and flash) and the higher resolution display, background applications is really nice too.

I couldn't use a physical keyboard on a mobile phone again - the autocorrect on the iPhone as well as the fact you aren't having to press a button makes it very quick for typing. Give it a month, and you'll be typing on the iPhone rapidly.

The author says people wouldn't miss multi-touch - I disagree. Flicking through webpages, selecting text etc is so much easier when you can just touch the screen.

You can debate whether it is a good or bad thing that Nokia has left their version of the OS open and unrestricted. Fair enough you can do what you want on your phone, but lets see how many worms affect the Nokia N900.

jayducharme
Nov 15, 2009, 12:29 PM
With the N900, you are free to choose any GSM mobile provider you want (T-Mobile or AT&T in the US).

Okay ... great. So I can switch to T-Mobile, which has even worse coverage in my area? How is this "choice"?

One particularly interesting option by T-Mobile USA is their new “Even More Plus Unlimited Talk + Text + Web” plan. This plan gives you unlimited everything for $80/month – with no annual contract.

And how is this cheaper? My iPhone is $70. (I'm not big on texting.)

One of the most common complaints about the iPhone on-screen keyboard. It can be incredibly frustrating to type on a little screen with no tactile feedback.

I wish this complaint would be put to rest. I have zero problems typing on the iPhone's keyboard, and actually type as fast as a regular keyboard. But maybe it's just me. I have serious problems with tiny tactile keys that are too small to be useful.

The Nokia N900 supports Flash files embedded in pages – Youtube, Flash games and other sites work just as they would on a desktop computer. Also, since the browser on the N900 is based on Firefox, it can be extended with add-ons. Add-ons such as Adblock Plus are already available for the N900.

This sounds nice.

Nokia does not stop you from having root access to your phone – no jailbreaking needed!

Great. Let's roll out the viruses.

Let’s be honest, the iPhone is old news – everyone has one these days.

If you really were honest, you wouldn't say this. iPhones are still relatively few and far between (mainly because of the cost and the provider).

bretm
Nov 15, 2009, 09:03 PM
It's not even 2 1/2 years and they're saying for almost 3 years? Try 2 years, 4 months, and roughly 17 days.

In the end it's all going to come down to interface and OS. Those that want the better experience will always stick with Apple.

Rodimus Prime
Nov 15, 2009, 09:25 PM
Does the N900 support Unicode - that is Chinese, Japanese, Korean in one Firmware or is it the usual bull###t like language dependant Firmware ? Thate imo a great plus for the iphone - 1 firmware that supports every language and constantly growing.

Well 2 ways to look at this and how laugages are supported. I personally prefer that they are add on packs that can be added or removed. If you never use them or need them dumping Asia chars s is worth 100+ megs of memory.

Aegelward
Nov 16, 2009, 05:42 AM
The N900 is interesting, it offers a lot of promises, but Nokia seem quite reluctant to embrace touch technologies.

The Operating System, Maemo5 looks superb. A vast improvement over Symbian, if the N900 proves successful they might just launch the OS across other phones.

Currently i have an E71 and an iPod Touch, when my contract is up i don't know what direction i'll go to upgrade..

M2M
Nov 16, 2009, 11:56 PM
Well 2 ways to look at this and how laugages are supported. I personally prefer that they are add on packs that can be added or removed. If you never use them or need them dumping Asia chars s is worth 100+ megs of memory.

The iphone unicode font is something like 50MB afaik. Keeping in mind the smallest iPhone available had 4GB its not much saving there.

sysiphus
Nov 17, 2009, 03:31 AM
I'd knock the useful items on the list down to about 10 or so, but it's definitely worth looking at all the same. For your average smartphone user, I'm not convinced that the N900 will be hugely better than an iPhone--the real beauty in the N900 is the openness/ability to run whatever however you like on it. The better camera is nice, and I refuse to buy any more carrier-locked phones on contract, so those two are definitely worth something as well. I can't say enough for having a higher screen resolution--after using my current Nokia (E90)'s 800x352 screen, I can't go back to an iPhone's 480x320. Also, for me, having a hardware keyboard is a plus--not only do I much prefer typing on one, but just as importantly, you don't lose screen space when you need to type! This makes a huge difference for typing anything much longer than a quick SMS. (Again, depends on your needs/uses). The true multitasking is another key for me--being able to run my email client, SSH, internet, and media player all simultaneously without closing any of them to switch (alt-tabbing actually works!).

Anyways, I've started to wander into extolling the virtues of my phone rather than the N900...ultimately, I'd prefer the guts of an N900 in the body of an E90, but it still looks rather sharp to me! The iPhone was with/ahead of the pack back in '07 on most counts (3G and multitasking notwithstanding). Given a couple years, the limitations of the iPhone's design are starting to show against some of the other high-end devices.

diogenis
Nov 17, 2009, 05:46 AM
Indeed the N900 is an impressive phone, with a gorgeous display. But sadly this is where it all ends :(

I am amazed that people can't understand the enormous success of an iphone even after its 3rd iteration, and they are still looking at the iphone as an evolutionary device with no multitasking capabilities.

1. If you buy the N900, how do you communicate with the PC? Using that horrid PCsync s/w from Nokia that never worked as it should? Thanks but no thanks... iTunes 1000x
2. How many new firmware updates do we expect to have on an N900? Remember the original iphone? Well you can still use it with the latest iphone OS 3... Can you do the same with future Nokia phones?
3. With Apple, you get a consistent platform that you know and love for a big range of devices including all of its phones and ipods and maybe the coming iTablet.

In short: it's not the hardware, it's the software dudes :)

Demosthenes X
Nov 17, 2009, 06:20 AM
Okay ... great. So I can switch to T-Mobile, which has even worse coverage in my area? How is this "choice"?

And how is this cheaper? My iPhone is $70. (I'm not big on texting.)

I wish this complaint would be put to rest. I have zero problems typing on the iPhone's keyboard, and actually type as fast as a regular keyboard. But maybe it's just me. I have serious problems with tiny tactile keys that are too small to be useful.

And your experience is obviously typical for everyone else in the world. :rolleyes:

The iPhone is locked to one carrier. The N900 is not. That's choice, even if the alternative happens to be worse in your area.

The $80/month plan does not lock you into a contract. For a lot of people, that's refreshing.

And there are plenty of people still complaining about the keyboard on the iPhone.

sysiphus
Nov 17, 2009, 06:33 AM
Indeed the N900 is an impressive phone, with a gorgeous display. But sadly this is where it all ends :(

I am amazed that people can't understand the enormous success of an iphone even after its 3rd iteration, and they are still looking at the iphone as an evolutionary device with no multitasking capabilities.

1. If you buy the N900, how do you communicate with the PC? Using that horrid PCsync s/w from Nokia that never worked as it should? Thanks but no thanks... iTunes 1000x
2. How many new firmware updates do we expect to have on an N900? Remember the original iphone? Well you can still use it with the latest iphone OS 3... Can you do the same with future Nokia phones?
3. With Apple, you get a consistent platform that you know and love for a big range of devices including all of its phones and ipods and maybe the coming iTablet.

In short: it's not the hardware, it's the software dudes :)

I don't think anyone here is arguing that the iPhone isn't a success...so I don't know why you even bothered to bring that up. Multitasking: there are many situations/applications where this is very useful. If you don't need it, good for you! However, when the competition can do it, it is a weak spot for the iPhone doesn't give you the option. It's much like how the original iPhone didn't have 3G because Jobs thought it would hurt the battery life too much--give people the choice to do what they want! That's part of what makes the N900 so great for the hardcore techie user--you can do darn near anything with it.

Beyond that, your argument that "it's all in the software" isn't quite on the mark--but let's pretend for a minute that it is--which phone gives a true desktop-style internet? It's not the iPhone. Like it or not, a lack of Flash is a big weakness. Don't want it? Then turn it off...but like so many other features/issues...the consumer is better off getting a choice about what he/she wants to do. Let's take another software issue--the iPhone has hugely crippled Bluetooth--no OBEX file transfers (no wireless sync etc), no Bluetooth PAN (wireless tethering etc). Again, the point is that the N900 is -open-, and gives you a choice to do what you want!


As for your three numbered issues:
1) if my experiences with previous Nokia smartphones are of any use, then it won't be an issue--I sync my Nokia E90 via iSync no problem. And you're over-dramatizing the Windows sync software--it's not bad. And it has a huge plus over iTunes sync, in the form of built-in tethering capability!
2) Firmware updates typically go for several years on high-end Nokias. My E90, which came out in June of '07, still got a new firmware update this year. Not bad for a device that came out at the same time as the original iPhone.
3) Rather vague statement--the Apple platforms are anything but consistent--using an iPhone doesn't teach you how to use desktop OSX any more than using Windows Mobile teaches you how to use Vista. At the end of the day, make a compelling combination of good hardware and decent interface and it'll do fine, regardless of the name.

With all this said, there's little doubt in my mind that the N900 will remain a high-end geek toy for the most part. It does way more than anything else on the market, and its' biggest selling point (total control/customization) won't necessarily appeal to Joe Sixpack.

diogenis
Nov 17, 2009, 08:14 AM
I don't think anyone here is arguing that the iPhone isn't a success...so I don't know why you even bothered to bring that up. Multitasking: there are many situations/applications where this is very useful. If you don't need it, good for you! However, when the competition can do it, it is a weak spot for the iPhone doesn't give you the option. It's much like how the original iPhone didn't have 3G because Jobs thought it would hurt the battery life too much--give people the choice to do what they want! That's part of what makes the N900 so great for the hardcore techie user--you can do darn near anything with it.
This is a valid point but only if you focus entirely on hardware which is a mistake. Multitask might sound good when you compare it with your big desktop PC, but this is a tool for the road. Other things matter more.
Second, Apple is a company not a democracy! Apple designs its products, not the people. And I prefer to keep it that way.

Beyond that, your argument that "it's all in the software" isn't quite on the mark--but let's pretend for a minute that it is--which phone gives a true desktop-style internet? It's not the iPhone. Like it or not, a lack of Flash is a big weakness. Don't want it? Then turn it off...but like so many other features/issues...the consumer is better off getting a choice about what he/she wants to do. Let's take another software issue--the iPhone has hugely crippled Bluetooth--no OBEX file transfers (no wireless sync etc), no Bluetooth PAN (wireless tethering etc). Again, the point is that the N900 is -open-, and gives you a choice to do what you want!
Like I said, because iphone is a success, with the upcoming OS ver 4 of it most likely it will get most of the things you ask here. But again, the iphone is an iphone it is not a Nokia or a HTC or whatever. It is what it is and what is needed to be and sales proves that Apple is right on track with it. When I say software I don't exactly mean flash support, but rather itunes integration and app support: a platform that everyone now runs to catch it.
The h/w upgrades are easy made: denser 3.5" screens? with next version of iphone 4 they can install.

As for your three numbered issues:
1) if my experiences with previous Nokia smartphones are of any use, then it won't be an issue--I sync my Nokia E90 via iSync no problem. And you're over-dramatizing the Windows sync software--it's not bad. And it has a huge plus over iTunes sync, in the form of built-in tethering capability!
2) Firmware updates typically go for several years on high-end Nokias. My E90, which came out in June of '07, still got a new firmware update this year. Not bad for a device that came out at the same time as the original iPhone.
3) Rather vague statement--the Apple platforms are anything but consistent--using an iPhone doesn't teach you how to use desktop OSX any more than using Windows Mobile teaches you how to use Vista. At the end of the day, make a compelling combination of good hardware and decent interface and it'll do fine, regardless of the name.

With all this said, there's little doubt in my mind that the N900 will remain a high-end geek toy for the most part. It does way more than anything else on the market, and its' biggest selling point (total control/customization) won't necessarily appeal to Joe Sixpack.
Nokia sync software is poorly designed and badly implemented. Particularly when you sync with outlook, and also the overall experience is that of a tragedy. Hundreds of apps within the phone OS to setup the phone, compare that with just one settings control panel for an iphone! It is a nightmare.
Obviously, an iphone wont teach you how to use OSX, and it dont need to, but the iphone is where it is and it deserves it any time! The rest can still try to catch it up, but it will be the benchmark for quite a while. And since we are at it, its not by accident that if you look at N900 it reminds you of well... the iphone ;)

sysiphus
Nov 17, 2009, 08:28 AM
This is a valid point but only if you focus entirely on hardware which is a mistake. Multitask might sound good when you compare it with your big desktop PC, but this is a tool for the road. Other things matter more.
Second, Apple is a company not a democracy! Apple designs its products, not the people. And I prefer to keep it that way.

Multitasking sounds good because...it is useful. Every other smartphone I've ever owned has let me multitask. If you don't want to do so, that's fine...but that doesn't negate the usefulness of the feature for other users. You're saying "but this is a tool for the road"--so thus you don't want more flexibility to multitask? That seems nonsensical--just because a feature is there doesn't mean anybody is forcing you to use it. As for your "democracy" idea--obviously, Apple can do whatever they like...but I fail to see why you'd rather have less options for what you can do with your phone. Put another way--my phone, which came out almost the exact same time as the original iPhone, has the following features which took at least one iteration of the iPhone to catch--and in some cases it still doesn't have--GPS, removable storage, a standardized USB port, an autofocussing camera, the ability to multitask, a far higher-resolution screen, a full 5-row QWERTY keyboard, the ability to tether, uncrippled Bluetooth...get the idea? Wouldn't you rather have had the choice to use all those features from the get-go? That's the point. Apple has a nice, if limited, user interface--but their hardware simply isn't top-notch. It never has been: on the first-gen iPhone, the camera was subpar, no video recording, there was no GPS, no 3G, no removable storage, no removable battery, no uncrippled Bluetooth, no SIM-unlocked version...for the 3G, they added GPS and 3G, but the rest of the list stayed the same. All the 3GS really did to help was implement a camera which finally caught up to what my Nokia had back in 2007--by which point, the current competition had moved on.

The attitude of "if Apple doesn't think I need it/should have it, then I don't need/want it" is asinine.

Liquorpuki
Nov 17, 2009, 09:45 AM
I prefer a hardware keyboard too - I went from a Fuze, which had one of the best keyboards on any PPC to the iPhone where I always f up my texts

But anytime I see these lists, I think they miss the point. It's not about specs, it's about user experience

You can have a phone that blows the iphone away in all areas of specs but if they don't surpass the user experience of the iphone, it'll come and go

The best part of the iphone's user experience is ease of use. It's ridiculously easy to shop for an app and stick it on your phone. I can deal with having no keyboard or LED flash or a crappier camera because of this. I really think if a phone MFG wants to knock the iphone off the top spot, they'd have to duplicate the success of the app store first

I think Nokia makes great high end phones btw. I would have shelled out $900 for a Communicator but they never came out with a 3G version

dmmcintyre3
Nov 17, 2009, 02:35 PM
The author says people wouldn't miss multi-touch - I disagree. Flicking through webpages, selecting text etc is so much easier when you can just touch the screen.
Which you don't need multi touch for, I do it all the time on any touch screen phone/pda

Kilamite
Nov 17, 2009, 02:45 PM
Which you don't need multi touch for, I do it all the time on any touch screen phone/pda

I didn't say you couldn't do it without multi-touch. I said it was easier.

Zooming for one.

Ubuntu
Nov 17, 2009, 03:23 PM
The issue I have is that phone manufacturers like Nokia and Samsung release phone after phone after phone, and it just gives the impression that they're failing constantly. Why should I get the N900 when they'll just release another iPhone killer a few months down the line?

Ubuntu
Nov 17, 2009, 03:26 PM
[QUOTE=Kilamite;8819814
The author says people wouldn't miss multi-touch - I disagree. Flicking through webpages, selecting text etc is so much easier when you can just touch the screen.
[/QUOTE]

I agree with you, multitouch is fabulous. I recall using a Samsung touchscreen phone before I purchased my iPhone, and it had two zoom buttons that you just tapped. I actually found it harder to use than a normal phone with real keys. The issue is that the software isn't necessarily built from the ground up for that kind of phone, in many cases. Of course, not sure about the N900.

diogenis
Nov 18, 2009, 12:33 AM
Multitasking sounds good because...it is useful. Every other smartphone I've ever owned has let me multitask. If you don't want to do so, that's fine...but that doesn't negate the usefulness of the feature for other users. You're saying "but this is a tool for the road"--so thus you don't want more flexibility to multitask? That seems nonsensical--just because a feature is there doesn't mean anybody is forcing you to use it. As for your "democracy" idea--obviously, Apple can do whatever they like...but I fail to see why you'd rather have less options for what you can do with your phone. Put another way--my phone, which came out almost the exact same time as the original iPhone, has the following features which took at least one iteration of the iPhone to catch--and in some cases it still doesn't have--GPS, removable storage, a standardized USB port, an autofocussing camera, the ability to multitask, a far higher-resolution screen, a full 5-row QWERTY keyboard, the ability to tether, uncrippled Bluetooth...get the idea? Wouldn't you rather have had the choice to use all those features from the get-go? That's the point. Apple has a nice, if limited, user interface--but their hardware simply isn't top-notch. It never has been: on the first-gen iPhone, the camera was subpar, no video recording, there was no GPS, no 3G, no removable storage, no removable battery, no uncrippled Bluetooth, no SIM-unlocked version...for the 3G, they added GPS and 3G, but the rest of the list stayed the same. All the 3GS really did to help was implement a camera which finally caught up to what my Nokia had back in 2007--by which point, the current competition had moved on.

The attitude of "if Apple doesn't think I need it/should have it, then I don't need/want it" is asinine.
Because many times less is better Sysiphus.
You like multitasking and the reason for this is because it is ... good (??)
Why is it good? why do you like it? Where did multitask blocked you from using an iphone? I can think of 0.05% of cases where i need it, but do we really need it on all the times because others have it?
Before this they claimed iphone lacked copy/paste. Well they add it in an elegant way. You know how many times I have used it? maybe 5-10.
I know there is no way I will persuade you, your way is simply "more is best" while my way is "less is best". Needless to say Jobs is a follower of the "less" by the way, its core and you can't do anything about it.
As for hardware, yes there maybe are better h/w products than the iphone, the N900 has a better screen for example, but who cares? Iphone works? (yes) User experience is the best? (it is)
For those that don't believe this, there are products in the market like the N900...