It's one thing to read a product preview here and there, but if you really want the Maemo 5 experience before you're even able to set foot in a store and buy an N900, look no further than mobile-review's characteristically exhaustive look at the platform. From the endless array of screenshots, you quickly get the impression that this is an attractive shell -- evolutionary and familiar for owners of the 770, N800, or N810, yes, but significantly freshened nonetheless. Here are a few big takeaways from the War & Peace-esque compendium:
  • There's apparently an N920 in the works that lacks a QWERTY keyboard. We've heard rumors in the past that the N900 will remain Nokia's sole Maemo 5 phone for at least a few months, so we might look to see this in 2010.
  • Process management invokes a curiously webOS-like card view which looks great. Helps when you have a beefy OMAP3 in there, doesn't it?
  • The call log effortlessly aggregates GSM and VoIP calls -- a neat trick, and a tip of the hat to Maemo's roots as a VoIP-friendly platform.
  • MMS isn't supported, strangely, though the platform's SMS support handles both threaded and traditional views.
  • While chatting up Maemo's calendar services, Eldar specifically says that he "Palm's WebOS-powered organizer much more enticing and promising." Lack of Google Calendar synchronization sucks, but we're not sure what that's all about -- Maemo does support Exchange ActiveSync, after all.
  • Eldar his the nail on the head regarding Maemo's Mozilla-based browser: it's always been good, just way too slow. The N900 cures those ails on better hardware, though "it hasn't caught up with the rest of the pack yet." Flash support seems wonky and performance isn't always great -- it depends on how many apps are running.
  • The music player is pretty bare-bones (typical Nokia), though anyone happy with the N97's sound quality will feel right at home here -- it's the same hardware.
  • The integrated Maps app apparently lags way behind the bar that Ovi Maps has set over on S60 -- super slow and "resource-hungry."
Of course, the beauty of Maemo is its wide-open philosophy, so many of the niggles here that aren't corrected by Nokia proper will hopefully be handled by the community at large -- and the good news is that by the time you get done reading this review, the N900 should be on store shelves for you to try yourself.

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