We've finally had a chance to play around at length with a very late pre-production version of Nokia's N900 (retail units are already shipping, but not to our neck of the woods just yet) and we wanted to scribble out a few notes for you before taking delivery of a final build for a full review hopefully in the next week or two. Here are some highlights we've noticed so far:
- Processor, processor, processor. Oh, and did we mention the processor? The N900's Cortex A8-based core yields significant improvements in day-to-day usability over the N810's ARM11 unit.
- Though it's still quite raw and feature-incomplete, Maemo 5 is by far the most user-friendly version of the platform to date, if for no other reason than the fact that it's very pretty. Screen transitions are smooth and look great, the home screen is as attractive and versatile as any widget-based home screen on the market today, and the Expose-style task switcher is a welcome addition.
- The N900 may very well offer the best browsing experience of any smartphone on the market today (yes, including the iPhone). What little ground it gives up in user friendliness is more than countered by the fact that you have the closest thing you can get to a desktop-class browser in a device of this size and form factor; it's straight-up Mozilla, after all, and everything renders faithfully. Flash doesn't blaze, but at least the Cortex A8 makes it usable.