Experiences with the N810

Experiences with the N810

The N810 is the third internet tablet that I own, starting with the first N770 that I got via the discount program.
Exciting to see that more KDE developers now starting to develop and blog about their experiences with this device. A somewhat dejavu feeling reading these blocks came about running desktop application KXyz and poor graphics etc.
I think it might be worthwhile for the new developers to catch up on the maemo-devel mailing list archives and read the lenghty threads about hardware limitation and such.
Btw. this mailing list was originally setup for the platform, but as developers prefer -devel mailings lists, changed to be targeted to application developers as well.

I have no idea what’s been said at the Academy presentations, so I hope it may be worthwhile to share my observation from the last three years as user (did some development too, but I don’t think that is very interesting to talk about).
A few weeks ago, I spent some days with friends in my home land. The N810 is really a nice travelmate to have. Listening to podcasts, reading a pdf file or watching a video while traveling, reading my google mail wherever I had Wifi access, using the GPS to find my way around, watching the latest news from the livestreams before I went to sleep and simply using it as a light source in an unfamiliar guest room.
At home, I basically use it as a mp3 player or as a TV device when drinking a glass of wine on the balcony. Since I live abroad, the Voice-IP feature is a real killer. Google talk is nice but not very common. Sip with an asterisk server is just great. I have one contact in my home land that has a VoIP account and flat rate access to the national phone network, I can dial to any number in this country for free using a second asterisk server over there.
The browser experience is okay, 800×640 is enough for most web sites. The keyboard is pretty good for responding to mails. However, the high dpi of 240 does makes reading stuff on web pages rather tiresome. A five euro +1 reading glasses surely helps a bit.
I’m not much of a gamer, did some quick games killing waiting time.

Some thoughts about software for this device. Like the first cars looked like a horse carriage without horse, the desktop metaphor might not apply on these devices.
Mouse drags, tab-and-hold for RMB, are just cumbersome, try to arrange the home applets. Now this may change in the next release, which should be more finger friendly (but this can only be about the size of widgets, dunno).
When publishing a program, keep in mind that slow application startup, slow feedback on actions are deadly. Actually, everything that consumes lots of battery power (unless the device is mounted somewhere so that it can charge constantly). What might sounds unexpected is that services listening for network data, drain the battery.

The trend observing is that the UI tends to become larger and more finger friendly. Which means that applications GUI’s diverge from their desktop counter parts already and becoming simpler.
The more popular provided open source application may show what makes sense currently. Various game emulators seem to be quite popular. Home automation, remote controls etc, surely are useful applications.
Analyzing software has its place. Bluethooth, Wifi, GPS, microphone and camera inputs allows things like network scanning, motion detectors etc (tricorder, anyone?).

Office or whatever management application are limited to mail and scribble/notes programs. Probably due to the troublesome way to enter enter text or do anything that requires lots of menu access and lack of overview given by the small display. I hope that this will improve, e.g. presentation software.
Interesting read is the thread from an Apple Newton developer in the maemo-devel archive. I really wonder if this device came too early that made them fail or that manipulating documents simply has no place on these gadgets,
I do suspect that perhaps in the propertarian world, things like invoice or whatever management in a client-server setup certainly may have some potential.

I hope the new KDE develops come with lots of new ideas. Qt surely lowers the barrier to get started.