This morning, however, I woke up and realized it was the first time I was about to use the N900 as a tool - one of the most important tools I have in fact. How did it perform?
To say it exceeded my expectations would be wrong, because my expectations are very high. I expect it to allow me to perform some core tasks with very little effort. I expect myself to be slightly entertained whilst doing so, as the gadget freak I am. I expected it to allow me to complete the tasks as quickly as I wanted, at my own pace and with as few errors as possible.
I'm pleased to say the N900 met all those expectations. The N900 has been unstable during my tests and initial playing around, but when I got down to business, it did exactly what I wanted it to. No more and no less.
Here's a brief description of how my morning activities with the N900 played out:
When I picked up the N900, I saw the blue led flashing, indicating that I had new messages. I simply opened the keyboard (since messages usually require text input in response) to unlock the device. No swiping. In fact, the less I need to "swipe to unlock", the happier I am! I am one of those users that almost always has the keyboard open. Come to think of it, the only thing I do without the keyboard open is talk on the phone.
Unlocking the device, I see that the dashboard icon has changed to white, indicating I have notification messages. I press it and am greeted by something similar to this:
- I click the yellow note to get to my mails (five unread).
- I see that a client reports our web server is very slow.
- I go back to the dashboard and choose the browser window (that says Facebook).
- I press Ctrl-N to open a new window (just like on a desktop).
- I open up the client's webpage to see if it appears slow. No slowness, the page comes up in about five seconds. And it's a huge thing (for me) that I can use my mobile phone to determine if a web site is slow or not.
- I wonder what the easiest way would've been to restart our MySQL database (it runs out of connections sometimes) if that had been the problem. Mind you, I'm not wondering if it's possible or not. I am contemplating the easiest and most efficient way. I wonder if I could edit my /etc/hosts to include our servers that I need to SSH in to. It appears I haven't got vi, joe, nano or pico installed on my N900 and those are all the editors I can think of right now, so I try to less /etc/hosts. Less doesn't exist either, but naturally cat /etc/hosts works. No worries, I think I saw an installable editor somewhere in some repository. I make a mental note to install one later.
- I go back to the dashboard, return to the mail application and respond quickly to the mail "I don't think the webpage is very slow, could you elaborate? When was it slow? Did it stay slow for a long time?". I write almost as much as I would on my desktop.
- I respond to an sms and find joy in being able to write as much as I want, and not the short, stubby sentences I got used to with the iPhone or the Hero.
- I greet some friends on MSN.
- I open up Facebook (ok http://lite.facebook.com) to check what everyone's doing. Facebook loads in five seconds. I'm very pleased with the speed, because it is no slower than I would expect my desktop to perform. On the Android, I felt the OS was conserving resources all the time, so when I put a program in the background to load a webpage while I was doing other stuff, I felt like it didn't load anything when I wasn't watching. On the N900 I can actually see it loading from the dashboard. It's never sleeping on the job!
All this with zero hiccups. I've been slightly taken aback by certain instability issues while testing the N900, but testing is never real use and now that I actually got to do what I need this device for, it performed flawlessly. Maybe I was just lucky this morning, time will tell, but I definitely have a very good feeling about it now.
The Hero actually gave me a much bigger sense of insecurity than the N900, so I am genuinely pleased with my decision to abandon Android for Maemo.