There’s a great post at TabletBlog critiquing the user interface of OS2008, the most recent revision of the operating system that runs on the Nokia internet tablets. To anyone who’s used both devices the points really ring true. Great writeup!
I’m a diehard Linux fan, and a mobile Linux fan in particular. My N810 is with me practically all the time. And people frequently ask me “Hey, what is that thing?” when I’m wandering around with it. Pretty frequently followed by “You think I should get one?” when I start gushing about the web browser, Python and Ruby packages, SSH, and how useful of a device it is for me. But my response is still “Well, are you a developer?” when they ask if they should get one. It’s just not a consumer device, not yet at least.
In theory us developers should be able to mold this open source platform and help make it something capable of appealing to the mass market. It takes time mind you, desktop Linux systems are only starting to make some real headway (thanks mostly to Ubuntu) after years of us geeks hacking around on the stuff. But once you have enough people pointed at an open platform interesting things do start to happen.
Part of the problem in OS2008 however is that the base environment and the bundled firmware applications are still closed source. If I end up disappointed in something like the RSS reader applet functionality I have options. The system is fully programmable so I could make my own RSS reader and create an applet for that which does what I want. It’s possible for me to do that. However if I had the source code to the bundled app the barrier to me trying out the configuration I want for my homescreen would be a lot lower.
I love the platform, and right now the N810 is a killer geek device for me. A real handheld Linux device that I can hack on, fantastic! However in the face of the platforms coming out I think they’re just going to get bowled over unless they do something to leverage the community they have to help them address a wider audience.