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The included applications are basic, but functional. The notes application is a basic text editor with support form simple formatting. The sketch application is a simple bitmap editor. Both are usable, but notably inferior to the equivalents that shipped with the Newton. For example, Sketch has a tool for drawing squares, while the Newton equivalent would detect when you draw something approximately square shaped, and replace it with a square.

The only serious irritation came from the fact that the notes application only appears to allow a single text file to be open at once. This means that switching between two files is a time-consuming process. The Psion Series 3 I used over a decade ago could do this with only 256KB of RAM, and so it doesn't seem too much to expect a machine two orders of magnitude more powerful to be able to as well.

The web browser is unbranded (but believed to be Opera-based), and rendered every site I visited correctly. The RSS viewer is simple, but very easy to use. The mail application is fairly full featured, although it failed to connect to my SMTP server, suggesting I should disable SSL. I suspect that it might have an issue with self-signed certificates, although the error message was not helpful.

Conspicuous by its absence was an IM client. There is a port of Gaim available, but it is somewhat unpolished — the menus are in the wrong place, the hardware buttons do the wrong things, and many of the buttons are clipped. In spite of the lack of polish, it worked well, and I was able to use Jabber to IM people on the move at a fraction of the cost of sending them an SMS.

It is worth mentioning that I was running the first public release of the firmware, which is a marked improvement over earlier developer releases. I have little doubt that both Nokia and the open source community will continue improve the device for some time.

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