Yesterday I had to deal with yet another issue the N900 got due to it’s aging set of applications and absence of company support. My university mail server dropped support of SSL, probably due to bugs recently found in SSLv3 protocol. Consequently, the N900’s default mail application silently ceased to check for new mail. This issue first appeared for gmail users and was solved by updating versions of Modest and tinymail in CSSU repositories. Maemo community indeed is amazing.
So how is it to use a non-standard internet tablet (no, N900 is not really a “phone”) from 2009, which was abandoned by manufacturer for several years? Well… complicated. Issues like the one with email are appearing more and more often. Community-developed applications cease to work as other companies change their APIs and drop support for old versions. This is the way Erminig (Google calendar sync), Conboy (Tomboy note sync), Dropbox clients, Facebook clients and probably other software already went. Unfortunately, even the outstanding community is slowly dwindling, as newer hardware offers much more options and even well-kept N900 devices are getting physically old. The only bright light at the horizont is Neo900. The community-based replacement of N900 mainboard with more modern features. Even though it is great to see that there probably will be a chance to even expand features of our beloved devices, it is an option just for the most hardcore of fans – yeah, you can’t expect the price to be on par with mass produced hardware.
So how come quite a lot of people still use this old piece of junk, even if they have money to buy a new, better one? Simple, because there isn’t any. Do you want a phone with system, which doesn’t restrict you in modifying it in any way you want? Install a different system? Tough luck. Or maybe a hardware keyboard? Go buy yourself a coffin instead, gramps! Also other nice things like stylus, hardware buttons, status LED, IRDA and many more are missing on most of today’s devices. Does really everyone want his super thin, shiny smart display and nothing more?
Alright, enough with the rant. For now, we can stick with devices like Jolla (possibly also Nexus) and hope for a brighter tomorrow led by Ubuntu or others, who let you do what you want, because you yourself know it the best.
And by the way, if you crave a real keyboard in your phone, check out TOHKBD.