Dear Nokia, I hate you. Love, Me.

I guess the title sums things up pretty well. Remember two years ago when I first found out about the N900 and I was like “OMG THIS PHONE IS AWESOME”? And then remember back in November 2009 when I finally got the N900 that I had pre-ordered and I was like “OMG THIS PHONE IS AWESOME”? And then remember how I’ve really liked my phone for the past 19 months? Well that all came to a screeching halt earlier a few weeks ago when the micro USB port (which is used to charge the phone) came loose and I could not charge the battery.

This is a widely-known and oft-complained about fact of N900 life, so I figured it’d be no big deal. Nokia knows how to handle this little defect in their design. So I dash off a quick note through their website and two days later I get a call back. The answer “well your phone is more than a year old, so we won’t do anything for you.” I understand that a warranty can only last so long, but it’s a design flaw, you assholes. It’s your problem, you fix it. I’m pretty ticked off that I’ve spent all this time telling everyone what a great phone the N900 is, that I paid full price for it, and now I have to go pay another $70 to get the damn thing fixed.

Look, I understand that I’m a nobody. A whiny nobody at the moment. But in case you haven’t noticed, Nokia, your smartphone strategy mostly consists of running around going “Oh sweet cellphone Jesus! What do we do? What do we doooooo?” First it was “hey check out this N900. Maemo is so cool!” Then it was “oh forget this N900 that we just told you was awesome. We’ll be coming out with a Meego handset, soon.” Then nothing happened for a while. Then the plan was “Meego? Lame. Check out this Windows Phone 7 that we’re totally going to use.” Then it was “oh hey, check out this N9 which runs Meego except it’s really Maemo 6 just API-compatible with Meego. But don’t worry about buying this because we’ll be abandoning it this fall for Windows Phone 7.” Are you guys stoned?

At least the company that fixed my phone was easy to deal with. Thank you OnSite Cellular Repair of Houston, Texas for your responsiveness. And an extra thank you for replacing the broken left arrow key, apparently for free?

N900: a year later

It’s been a little over a year since I first got my Nokia N900.  When I first wrote about this phone, I was pretty excited.  After a year — and several firmware updates — am I still excited?  The answer is mixed.  I still find my phone incredibly useful, but there are a lot of things I find disappointing. recently listed the N900 as the most gifted phone of 2010, but it appears that it will remain a niche device. Continue reading

I may have found my next phone

I fully expect to be in the smartphone market in the not-so-distant future.  My BlackBerry 8700c has served most admirably these past few years, including untold drops onto various surfaces and a 9-hour nap in a snow bank.  Despite it’s faithfulness, it is not the phone it once was.  Aside from some cosmetic problems, it has a tendency to freeze up every so often, which requires me to remove the battery to shut it off.  Not to mention the lack of 3G capability.  That really hurts.

I’ve been eyeing the iPhone since it first came out, and the more I learned about the phone itself, the more I like it (especially the 3G S).  Unfortunately, the more I learn about the way Apple and AT&T rule the network, the more repulsed I am.  That, among other considerations, is a big reason why I still have yet to let the BlackBerry go.  Still, when I look at the features that I want out of a smartphone, the iPhone fares the best.  Until now.

There has been quite the buzz (or at least mild hum) on the Internets since did a preview of the Nokia N900.  Holy crap, this looks like my kind of phone.  From a hardware standpoint, it seems more like the G1, which is a solid-feeling phone.  What really sets it apart is the software side.  The phone runs Maemo, a Debian-derived Linux distro designed for mobiles and tablets.  My knowledge of Maemo is still pretty sketchy, but from the Slashdot discussion I’ve gathered that it is a full-featured Linux distro, capable of running just about anything you want.   Has freedom finally come to the cell phone market?

At the moment, it appears that most of the discussion on the Internet begins with the Mobile-review article, any other details are hard to find.  One site did suggest that it might be available in the US in September, and since Nokia World is scheduled for Sept 2-3, that’s not unreasonable.  The list price is supposed to be $780 (which compares well to the iPhone 3G S list price) and I expect the carrier (likely T-Mobile) will offer some nice subsidizing.

So for now I will wait and see what develops.  It looks like a great phone, the real deciding factors for me will be the release date, the price and the carrier.  For all the bad things that I’ve noted about AT&T, they’ve been my wireless carrier since back in the Cingular days and I’ve never had any problems.  Plus, they offer a discount because of my employer, which is always a nice incentive.  Will I end up switching carriers so that I can get the N900?  Will the price be such that I can just buy it and bring it onto my existing AT&T account?  Will I chicken out and just try to do everything on my Samsung Sync?  I guess we’ll find out soon.