Nokia N810 hotness

Last night, I re-flashed my N800 with OS2008, and today my N810 turned up – I’m glad I elected to work from home today so I could play with it as soon as possible 🙂 I was a little worried because I have heard at least 2 people that said their order was cancelled due to problems, one even after the item was reported as shipped! That, plus the fact that the UPS tracking status only reported ‘billing information received’ the entire time.

I’m impressed with the N810 hardware. For the most part it’s very nice. I like the compactness, and have no problem with the slight weight increase over the N800. The hardware keyboard is cool, although I’m tempted to continue using my external Nokia keyboard because it allows a more normal typing style. There are a couple of hardware differences I’m not a fan of, but I understand why they did things this way. I liked having a standard SD slot rather than the mini-SD that the N810 has. I have several SD cards, but no mini-SD’s. Ditto for the micro-USB connector that’s replaced the more common mini-USB on the N800. The back cover feels a little thin when I remove it, but I don’t expect to be doing that often anyway. Everything else, I love.

I can see lots of nice changes in the OS2008 release too, although the firmware that came pre-installed had some pretty rough edges. I had to reflash the N810 immediately with the latest firmware, which is not something I’d generally expect from a piece of consumer hardware. With the shipped firmware, I couldn’t install skype from the ‘Install Skype’ option in the main menu (Unable to install Skype because libhildonfm2 >= 1:1.9.49 & libhildonmime0 >= 1.10.1 are missing). In the application manager, it had an update listed for the ‘map’ application, but would not actually allow me to make the update (Unable to install. Software contains updates to pacakges installed from a different source and is likely to harm the system).

Both problems disappeared after reflashing, but still, it marred the first impression.

Here are a few observations:

  • I really like the idea of having GPS, and the included maps for Ireland & the UK are cool.
  • When I’m indoors, the GPS can’t get a signal at all, and it took about 10 minutes to get a lock the one time I took it outside. I hope that was a fluke and it works better next time, or I probbably won’t end up using it much.
  • I’m not a fan of the new ‘finger sized’ menus. I was happy with the old ones. A configure option would be cool.
  • I like the new monochrome icon style in the status area.
  • There’s an annoying ‘Gizmo’ icon installed by default that I had to use Red Pill mode to get rid of.
  • Is there any application that uses the camera installed by default? I can see the camera there, but I had to install the Camera app before I could check out the quality (it’s not great), and there’s a thing that looks like a flash above it that I haven’t got to do anything yet
  • I like the way the new backup tool also remembers my custom repositories and restoring re-installs the extra apps I had
  • Gecko based web browser! Yay!
  • Facebook is one of the default bookmarks provided, but it renders horribly, even in fullscreen. That’s still an improvement though, in OS2007, it rendered horribly and didn’t work (couldn’t update status for example
  • I encountered a few bugs in OS2008 that existed in OS2007 and didn’t get fixed, which is not surprising since I never reported them
    • The initial setup wizard doesn’t pair with my phone (it just times out), but the standard pairing utility in the control panel does
    • Even though my Nokia SU-8W bluetooth keyboard is one of those explicitly listed in the keyboard configuration applet, the ~ key on it doesn’t work – it types *
    • There’s no obvious way to invoke the Operator Setup wizard other than pairing a new phone, which was a pain when I moved from Spain to Ireland and needed to switch service providers

Overall, except for needing to reflash my new device immediately after getting it these are pretty minor blemishes on an awesome product – well done Nokia dudes, and thanks for the developer discount – I’m looking forward to doing some hacking!

5 thoughts on “Nokia N810 hotness”

  1. GPS will not work indoors; you need a clear line of sight to three, preferably four, satellites and the frequencies used do not penetrate solid objects well. In fact, you’ll sometimes have problems in a dense forest or during rain.

    How much time it takes for initial lock depends quite a bit on how close you are to where it expects you to be. It should be faster next time in other words (unless you’ve flown to some other area of the world in the meantime). But it does take a few minutes even in the best of cases.

  2. Jan, that thing that looks like a flash is the light sensor for measuring the ambient light.

    Dar (written on my new N810 too 😉 )

  3. I flashed but still can’t run the map update. Odd thing is the versions both look the same.

    Oh, if you cover the light sensor the backlight dims after a few seconds. I thought I had a fault 😉

    My GPS is also really slow and I noticed when roaming about my house that the wifi pickup is a lot worse than my laptop.

    I also found my keyboard wobbles a bit and jams when opening.

    Otherwise like you I think it’s great.

  4. Cool , your the first person that I read that had the same problem. It’s about not being able to install skype. Soo the remedy is to flash os2008again? I already checked and I thought I had the latest version. Please help me e-mail me please

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