tiistai 24. marraskuuta 2009

Strange bugs and annoyances

Ok, let me start by saying that I really like this device. The N900 does just what I wanted and I am very pleased with it. I am also expecting some really great updates down the line. Having said that, the device does have some really annoying features as well and this wouldn't be a fair and balanced blog if I didn't mention those as. So here you have it: All the dirt and filth that I've uncovered about the N900 since the day I started using it (yesterday).

Some of these are persistant bugs and some are just "buggy states" I've run into but am unable to duplicate if I reboot the device.

Issue 1:
At times, the phone application won't turn on when I raise the phone from landscape to portrait. Yes, I have enabled the setting. Fix: Reboot.

Issue 2:
I have a huge gallery of photos, that I have a habit of transferring to my phone. So, trying to browse this massive album of 4000+ photos is quite a trial by fire for most phones. The N900 fell flat on its face. It wasn't anywhere near able to browse them all. Furthermore, whenever you fire up the "Photos" app, it is automatically set to "show ALL pictures", so every time I started the app, it would try to show 4000 thumbnails before letting me choose a specific album. The slowdowns were immense and even after I reduced the amount to 700 photos, the app wasn't able to create thumbnails for more than 5% of the pictures. The rest showed up as blank frames. Fix: remove my precious photos. They fit in the memory, but no program exists that would be able to browse them.

Issue 3:
Again, the Photos app. Out of the blue, the app decided to show ALL slideshow pictures upside down. When I clicked a photo and exited the slideshow (fullscreen) mode, where you see the toolbar, the photo was the right way. Even the "start slideshow" play button was upside down, so the N900 obviously thought it was turned upside down, but only in slideshow mode. Fix: Reboot.

Issue 4:
Graphics glitches on the desktop. I remember back in the 80s when my graphics adapter broke and was able to send only certain signals to my monitor. Huge chunks were missing and some shaded areas showed up with only one single color. It was like that. Fix: Reboot.

Issue 5:
Another time, the X-button in the upper right corner got a graphical glitch that looked exactly like a thick black scratch or shard of broken glass. I was convinced my N900 had it's first incident within 24 hours! But when I rotated to the Phone app, the same graphical glitch was at the same spot, but now in the upper right corner of portrait mode! Fix: Reboot.

Issue 6:
When you put a Contact widget on your desktop and then change that person's details, the widget sometimes (always?) jumps to another desktop on top of other widgets.

Issue 7:
I have three "mail"-accounts. Mail for exchange for syncing Google contacts and calendars. Google exchange doesn't do mail (yet) Apparently it does now, but it just doesn't work on the N900. I get a "sync complete", but no mail ever appears in my inbox. My work mail (Imap) and my Gmail (Imap). When I send a picture as mail, it will automatically select the exchange account, that doesn't do mail (and doesn't have "synchronize mail" checked in the settings). The end result is, that the mail can't be sent. However, the mails that will never be delivered can be seen in the outboxes for both Imap accounts. Selecting them and resending does nothing. Changing the "From" address (and From account) helps.

Issue 8:
Only date, no time for all events in the desktop calendar widget!

Issue 9:
Once, the tactile feedback from the screen was multiplied by 10 (so instead of one vibration each time I touched the screen, I felt something like 10).

Issue 10:
Unable to lock Fn if a text area is not open. I would like to lock Fn to gain one touch access to arrows up and down for scrolling on webpages.

Issue 11:
Slight sluggishness when phone rings. I might see the portrait phone app for a second, but then the screen goes black for something like 3-5 seconds and then the dial app reappears and I can answer the call. It might occur when the phone goes into energy saving mode at the exact time the phone rings.

Issue 12:
Lack of "snap to grid" for desktop. Really? I'm supposed to be able to line up all desktop icons and widgets perfectly myself, with equal distances from each other?

Issue 13:
Once, when I booted the phone (because of another problem), I got into a desktop that was unbelievably slow. I have no idea what the phone was doing, but I was barely able to switch desktops. Fix: Reboot.

Issue 14:
No numerical battery information anywhere. The ONLY place where we can see the charge of the battery is the 5x5mm icon at the top.

Issue 15:
PDF-viewer can't fit the pdf to width. It can zoom to 100% or 150%, but nothing in between.

Issue 16:
Once, my phone mic died. No one could hear my voice on the other end. Reboot fixed.

I admit most of these are difficult. As a programmer myself, I would much rather prefer my bugs to be reproducable and when something isn't and I'm not even sure I can trust the person who reports the unreproducable bug, there's only so much you can do. Having run both iPhone and Android, I can honestly say, they are both much more mature at this stage. I am just hoping the base that Maemo5 is built on is the strong part, so that somewhere along the line, we will realize that every firmware update has been a major step towards a better device.

I still don't regret switching to the N900, though. Even with the lack of apps and the strange issues I've detailed here. But, and I'm loosely quoting someone else here, if you've been an iPhone user and you like it a lot and the fact that it "just works" and you're looking to the N900 for something even better than the iPhone, just look elsewhere. This isn't your phone.

However, if you like tinkering and having a really cool and customizable phone with some really, really good features (detailed in another blog post), look no further.

I might edit this post later, as I run into new issues... 

4 kommenttia:

  1. These don't sound so good.
    Especially the weird time-out for incoming calls. And the pdf-viewer. And...

  2. Yeah, I hear you. You have to be willing to play with the "big boys" (or girls) and take a little hurt if you want to play for the N900 team. Which is exactly why I won't suggest this device to a lot of friends. Those who want it probably already know they want it.

  3. hmm MfE for syncing my google apps account mail works just fine (a new feature from a few months ago). Used it of course for calendar and contacts since the support came out...

  4. Yeah, I just recently got the information that Google MfE actually works with mail now. I was living in the past when I used it on my iPhone and had to disable mail syncing.

    Fact remains, that it doesn't seem to work on the N900, at least not for sending mail. I don't think I've even tested syncing Google mail over MfE, so thanks for the update. I will do further testing.