Originally Posted by jahonen UI wise, OS wise or development wise? Most of the complaints I've seen are about the app development environment (fixed with Qt) and UI (fixed with ^3 and ^4). What's wrong with the actual OS (here I am truly ignorant and thus asking)?
It's had multitasking for I guess a decade, supports all current phone tech (including touch nowdays) and many (possibly falsely) claim that it's the best mobile OS. It's just that I haven't seen any proper comparison on the matter (other than UI or App development related). Nokia is not going to ditch Symbian quite yet.
Maemo (now meego) on the other hand is still a beta version. Nokia didn't believe their "geek toy" N900 would sell so well and did hardly any marketing. It was never meant as a volume device for the masses, mainly just a tech test platform for geeks and Nokia themselves. They've been public about this plan for a long time. They have a 5 step plan with increasing feature sets per version. N900 is the 4th Maemo device. The 5th device (this year) has been planned as the 1st mass-market device and after that a normal mass-market roadmap and support map.
With your other points, I agree.
P.S. I do not work for Nokia, never have. All this data is from public sources.
Purely a development standpoint... There are some memory management issues from what i can see, and according to the programmers i've spoken with, the OS itself is pretty arcane. Nobody *wants* to work with Symbian unless they are compensated well...you get what i mean..
But as much as i'm removed from that as a Web developer, i still have to deal with the memory issue, when it comes to the "write once, run everywhere" web apps. Webkit on Symbian is probably the worst port of Webkit all around. It has some issues with JS closure memory. When you need to store a lot of information, that really impacts the responsiveness of a device, whereas Safari on the original
iPhone, has no issues.
As for the N900, i own one ...love it!
Superb thumb-typing keyboard, all around nice hardware, except for the resistive (singe touch) touchscreen - a big turn-off in itself for a lot of consumers.
And i can explain why it is not selling.
1. As you have said, it's a trial product rather than a mass-market device. (..the linux teminal in the apps menu speaks for itself
2. It has no presence in carrier kiosks.
3. It sells unsubsidized. Bought mine at Amazon for $520 USD. Most customers in the US on the other hand, expect half-off up front, and then to get screwed with a $60+ monthly bill for two years.
4. It ONLY works on the T-mobile band. T-mobile sucks. Period...
...I'm with Verizon...
5. The most important thing, is that there is no real app ecosystem. Sure, there is Ovi maps, built-in Skype (very convenient), but if you want apps that do what you want, you have to write them yourself.
So that should generally cover the state of their N line....
The N900 is the best IMHO. The other offerings are a bit aged, and not a good comparison to today's devices, like the new HTC Incredible or the iPhone.
OS fragmentation is definitely an issue with Nokia, along with letting the iPhone blossom with no real competition (even as of right now). Once an iPhone, always an iPhone IMHO.