The Nokia N900 is a nifty smartphone that’s been out for about 2 years now. Right now it has been discontinued because Nokia felt that it’s more oriented to geeks or linux users than to regular everyday computer users.
Big mistake right there. Even though, at first it’s hard to get a grasp of the entire potential of the N900, after you take about 3 days to play with it, you will fully understand the potential: running little servers (apache, ftp, ssh), mail daemons or even rendering graphics, though it drains the battery.
The reason why the N900 is the best smartphone at such a price, is because it runs a full debian based operating system, called Maemo.
Maemo will allow you to install and run any .deb package that has been create for the ARM processor architecture.
As any linux based device, it supports repositories. The default one is the Nokia Ovi Store, but because there are not many official apps for the N900, the maemo.org community has created 3 extra repositories: extras, extras-devel and extra-testing.
You can use these repositories to add extra functionality to your N900 device, and trust me, you can pimp the phone so much that you will love it.
Here are some packages & apps that I recommend N900 users to install, to improve the performance and capabilities:
Kernel Power – this will install a kernel that will allow you to overclock your N900 and multiboot.
– rootsh – this will allow you to have root access on commands in the terminal.
– Starhash Enabler – this will allow you to use commands with your operator (like asterix).
– Bluetooth DUN – it will allow you to share the 3G/WiFi of the N900 via Bluetooth to any Bluetooth device (computer,phone).
– Live Focus – it will add extra functionality to your Camera app. Things like: manual focus, scheduled pictures/reccordings, activate the flash as a flashlight in the dark.
– Mobile HotSpot – it will allow you to share the 3G internet via the WiFi of the N900.
– FMRX Enabler – it will increase the range of the FM broadcast signal.
– OpenVPN + Applet – it will allow you to connect to any OpenVPN network (has support for importing .ovpn files).
– OpenSSH Server – it will run an SSH server on your N900 so that you can run linux commands or simply send and receive files.
Remember, these apps aren’t required, but they can help you transform the N900 in the beast that it was supposed to be.
However there are some packages that you really need to install, if you are downloading files from the internet on the N900, and these are: Transmission (torrent client), lzma, rar, zip.
Because the N900 was discontinued, the Maemo updates are no longer available from Nokia, so the maemo.org team got some developers and they are fixing bugs and adding new things to the operating system. If you still want to get updates to your N900, you have to install the “Community SSU” package, and that will tell you when there are any new updates released by them.