Nokia E90 & N810
Nokia E90 & Nokia N810:
GPS, Apps, Web and Multimedia
Just to recap, the E90 is of course a Symbian S60 3rd Edition smartphone, while the N810 is an internet tablet which runs Maemo, a Linux-based software platform. They're both made by Nokia and share some similar features like QWERTY keyboards, large screens and built-in GPS receivers, but there are also fundamental differences in the philosophies behind their design.
GPS & Satellite Navigation
The E90's GPS receiver finds satellites much much more quickly than the N810's. The E90's assisted GPS (which uses the phone network) probably helps, but even without a network connection the E90 is significantly faster. It could be that the N810's performance will improve as new firmware updates are issued, and to be fair this is the first-ever Maemo device with GPS, but at the moment the E90 is a more practical device for navigation purposes.
E90 and N810 running their satellite navigation apps.
If you're unhappy with the built-in GPS receivers, both the N810 and E90 can use external Bluetooth GPS units instead, including unofficial units made by third party companies.
If you're unhappy with the built-in map services you can install third party ones instead. N810 owners are strongly advised to try Maemo Mapper, a free open source map and navigation application, while E90 owners can choose from a range of commercial navigation products for the S60 3rd Edition platform including Navicore, Route 66 and Wayfinder, plus the free Google Maps for Mobile.
Maemo.org website's downloads page, where you can install free native apps and games on the N810.
Applications & Games
The E90 uses S60 3rd Edition applications, and S60 is generally based on the same model that all computing devices have traditionally used. The S60 platform has formed a commercial software ecosystem, where companies and individuals are encouraged to make and sell closed source software in the hope of profit. In short, people pay developers for S60 stuff, so the developers make more S60 stuff. There are some open source freeware S60 apps too, but the majority are closed source commercial releases.
The N810 uses Maemo OS 2008 applications, and generally follows the newer open source model for software development. Under open source, enthusiasts and companies develop software together and allow anyone free access to both the applications and their source code. The reason Maemo is so dominated by open source apps is largely because of Maemo's Linux-based nature, which means there are many existing open source software apps for desktop Linux which can very easily be ported to Maemo, and many Linux fans interested in supporting the tablets. However, Nokia is trying to encourage commercial Maemo development.
S60 Download! application which lets you install free and commercial apps and games on the E90.
The E90 features the standard S60 web browser found on other S60 3rd Edition devices, which uses the same open source engine that Apple's Safari browser does. S60 renders most pages pretty much as they would appear on a PC, and this looks particularly brilliant on the E90 because of its large screen, which is much wider and with a far higher resolution than those found on other S60 devices.
The web is definitely the N810's forte, it has possibly the best web browser of any pocket-sized device at the moment, and certainly better than any phone's. While previous tablet OS versions used Opera, OS 2008 uses a Mozilla-based browser called MicroB. Far more web sites are compatible with MicroB than Opera or S60, because sites treat MicroB as if it was Firefox (which it is, sort of). There are absolutely no redirects to mobile versions. The N810 includes Flash 9 so the browser will work with almost all Flash-based sites, and (if you get the latest firmware update) it can now display the full PC version of YouTube without stuttering or any need for external applications. Flash games will run too, though they may run slowly if they involve lots of fast-moving objects.
The E90 is perfectly capable of displaying the full PC version of the BBC News web site, it is automatically redirected by the BBC to the cut-down mobile version. The N810 is not redirected, and can access the full version.
The E90 and N810 both have excellent screens and can play good quality video, and they can also both be stood on a table at a variety of comfortable viewing angles thanks to the N810's built-in stand and the E90's low centre of gravity. Various third party PC applications are available to convert and optimise video files for viewing on the devices, and there are also two official apps from Nokia: Nokia Video Manager for putting video onto S60 devices, and Nokia Internet Tablet Video Converter for putting video onto Maemo devices. Both of Nokia's official offerings are aimed at ordinary people rather than tech enthusiasts, and are generally very easy to use, though their options are deliberately limited in order to keep them simple. They're also only available for Windows at the moment. The Tablet Video Converter is probably the more intuitive and elegant as it simply requires you to drag and drop a file into its window to convert it, then click on an icon next to the converted file to transfer it.
The N810's built-in camera was only ever intended as a webcam for video conferencing, and it doesn't even come with a still photo application. You can find and install a very simple camera app through the N810's application manager, but you can only really take self-portraits as the camera is fixed facing forwards.
The E90's camera by comparison is very impressive, with 3.2 megapixel stills and VGA resolution 30FPS video. It basically wipes the floor with the N810, there's absolutely no contest. The E90 is a completely plausible main camera and camcorder, and should easily suit the photo and video needs of the casual user. Because it's a connected device the photos and videos can be emailed or uploaded to web sites directly from the phone, so for example you could shoot a video and immediately post it straight onto YouTube through the web browser. The E90 also has a lower resolution second camera next to its internal screen for videophone calls.
The E90 has an FM radio, the N810 doesn't. The N800 model does have an FM radio but you have to download a special application to activate it.
Both the N810 and E90 support playback of internet radio.
|Tags: n810, nokia e90|
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