Multitasking and Notifications

Moving on, Maemo has native multitasking support. Launch anything, and the application launcher icon in the top left changes to a different icon with 6 windows.

Tapping on it does just that, the windows shrink down into smaller preview 'cards' and keep running. Nokia calls this window management screen the 'dashboard,' and it feels very much like how WebOS handles multitasking by presenting small previews of running windows. It's very different from the Android or iPhone OS 4 approach. There's something to be said for being given visual previews of the windows instead of abstract icons or a drag down list; in practice I was able to rapidly switch between multiple browser windows, email, and messaging. Maemo's 'dashboard' is essentially exposé for smarphones, and the cards themselves get appropriately smaller and smaller as you add running applications to the grid. You can kill applications from here by tapping an x in the top right corner - matching the larger x when an application is full screen.

SMS notifications and IMs appear the same - I don't usually talk to myself about food though

Notifications pop up as transparent yellow windows that disappear after a few seconds. After you get a notification, tapping on the window manager button will reveal the windows, but this time the application relevant to the notification will also have a yellow overlay with the number of notifications you've missed and some relevant text. I think this implementation is fantastic. It's different from the Pre, and Android, and light years beyond the iPhone OS's intrusive bubble overlay. It works without being a constant reminder that you're behind on everything.

Maemo: Debian for Smartphones Maemo: App Store and Browser


View All Comments

  • tarunactivity - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    a notable omission:

    The FM receiver on the N900 requires Bluetooth to be switched on. So if you want FM, you need to plugin your earphones + enable bluetooth.

    Kind of counter productive , if you ask me,and surely a waste of power.
  • Brian Klug - Friday, June 11, 2010 - link

    Ahh, you're totally right. I think I glossed over that because I already had Bluetooth on, but it makes sense now since the FM radio is on that same piece of silicon.

    I wonder how much of a difference it makes on battery - had it disabled for those other tests of course.

    -Brian Klug
  • asdasd246246 - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    I'm sure the Nokia has sweet hardware, but it's still all plastic..
    Plastic screen that will scratch the first 10 minutes you own it, and a friend has a similar model without a keyboard, and the plasticness is so horrible I shudder.. -_-
  • legoman666 - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    I've had the N900 since last November. No screen protector, no case. Not 1 scratch. So speak for yourself, maybe you ought to put your phone in a separate pocket as your keys. Reply
  • legoman666 - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link


  • akse - Friday, June 11, 2010 - link

    The case is somewhat plastic yeah.. but it hasn't really bothered me so much. I have only a few tiny tiny scratches on the screen, you can only spot them by mirroring a clean screen against bright light.

    At the back I have a few bigger scratches because the phone fell on concrete..
  • Calin - Friday, June 11, 2010 - link

    I have a 1200-series Nokia phone, which I keep in the same pocket as the keys, and the display is in a serviceable condition after more than two years of abuse Reply
  • arnavvdesai - Thursday, June 10, 2010 - link

    Actually, the Symbian OS- Nokia's No.1 Smartphone OS is more open with entire OS(including the core APIs) being Open Source. Symbian is more open than Android. Reply
  • Talcite - Friday, June 11, 2010 - link

    That's only true for symbian^3 and newer OSes. Only the Nokia N8 is currently shipping S^3 I believe.

    You should also mention that the Maemo 5 OS has many binary packages to get all the cellular hardware and PowerVR GPU working.

    Anyways, it definitely has more support for the FOSS community than android though as far as I know. You're free to flash your own ROMs without needing to root it and you don't need to do weird stuff with java VMs. Just a simple recompile for ARM and support for Qt I think.
  • teohhanhui - Friday, June 11, 2010 - link

    Nokia N8 is still far from "currently shipping"... Reply

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