Nokia's N900 is the first device in awhile from the iconic Finnish phone maker that I've been excited about after having tried it out. I was hyped up about the 5800 and N97 before I tried them out; in both cases, after about five minutes of hands-on time I was frustrated and ready to move on. Not so with N900.
Maemo 5, Nokia's new smartphone/mobile computing OS, is interesting. And powerful. The Linux-based operating system is built for multitasking and always-connected messaging, and a handful of truly useful apps are already available for download from Nokia's site. One of them is Hermes, a social networking utility that lets you connect your device's Contacts app to your Facebook and twitter accounts, Android/HTC Sense style.
The OS seems easy enough to use so far, though I'm not sure I'd call it intuitive for the average user. Typical to Nokia, the OS is driven by tight logic, but certain of the interface screens lack icons and labels that the average user could immediately identify and use. Some screens have traditional back arrows, others don't. The main app menu is accessed via an icon that's sometimes visible and sometimes isn't. I suppose that's not really so different from other mobile OSes and apps (ever show Opera Mobile to a first-time smartphone user?), but it's still got me worried about Maemo's mass market appeal.
N900 is currently only available as an unlocked GSM device, selling for $650 direct from Nokia - though it's been spied for less than $500 on sale at Amazon. No carrier plans for N900 have been announced, but T-Mobile US-compatible 3G radio bands have the Magenta faithful hoping with fingers crossed that this next-gen Nokia smartphone wind up on their network in early 2010.