torstai 26. marraskuuta 2009

The phone part of the N900

Edit: I just ran into this thread on There seem to be a lot of people with mic problems, so mine wasn't actually that rare. I really hope I won't experience it again. Luckily mine fixed itself with a reboot - others don't appear to be so lucky.

I have generally been satisfied with the phone feature of the N900. I don't have a lot of demands - basically it's enough if it's pretty snappy (screen doesn't flicker like crazy when a call comes in and the answer button responds quickly). I also like a good speaker phone and the N900 doesn't let you down in that department.

Today, unfortunately, I had a bad moment. The microphone died and when a client called me, she couldn't hear my voice. At first I thought the error might have been on her end (arrogant, I know), because when I called her back I got the answering machine. I tested from our company landline and had the same issue. Since I was in a hurry to get back to the client, I did the easy thing and booted (the N900 boots fast!) and that solved the problem.

The N900 lost a couple of points in my eyes because of this. What has been a very solid experience so far turned into uncertainty. I can easily forgive bugs that I know of and know how to circumvent, but what irritates me most is not knowing if I can trust my device. I will keep monitoring this - one time isn't enough for me to lose trust, but if it happens often, it might turn me into a phone-part-hater, like some people seem to be.

The phone part does flicker, but that is understandable. If I'm listening to music and browsing a web page or doing other activities when a phone call comes in, the device will stutter and act weird for a second. I would like it to jump into the phone app in a second and show me the "answer" and "reject" buttons, but that doesn't happen.

When a call comes in and the phone app isn't already active, it will take 3-5 seconds for the app to start. Once it's active though, it responds to key-presses instantly. I have had similar problems with both WinMo and Android phones before. For some reason the phone functionality is such an afterthought that incoming calls make the phones react as if some burglar invaded their home - hysterical flickering, freezing in their tracks, not knowing how to react... The N900 does this to an extent, but it feels good that once the phone app is active, it works smoothly (except when it doesn't ;)).

My theory is that there is a subprocess on the phone that monitors incoming calls. When such a call is detected, the Phone applications is automatically launched (it's not active all the time if you close it). This starting of a program not present in the memory is what takes a couple of seconds. I will keep testing if keeping the phone app always active helps.

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