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Click here for other N900-related pages!
In this page I describe some "must-have" software and... some
The latter are those stinky minisoftware written by unexperienced
programmers thinking that the N900 is the usual miniphone with the
usual miniscreen used by the usual lazy luser.
- applet: utility which appears in the configuration (set-up) menu or
in the status menu (when you press on the clock/icon)
- widget: installed only on the desktop (on the N900 we have four
- utility and games: those who need to be called by the applications
menu or by shortcuts on the desktop.
Let's go in alphabetical order!
3G-2G-Dual mode selection
Applet: add "3G" (UMTS/HSPA), "2G" (GPRS/GSM/EDGE) and "Dual" (2G, or
3G when available) explicit selection. This is great when you have a
provider applying weird charges for 2G usage (in my case H3G Italy);
I've got to stuck it to 3G to not to pay for involuntary use of 2G
in not-fully-3G-covered areas.
- usefulness: there are cases (like mine) when it will save money!
- status: installed a few minutes after buying the N900... I think
I won't ever uninstall it!
Mini utility to read the values of the accelerometers (actually it is
a 3-D rotation measurement, not three accelerometers; the accelerometers
are those built in the Wii NunChuck).
- useful: quite rarely - only to verify that the hardware is working
- status: uninstall after first usage!
Airport (by Offscr)
Game: drag in the airport planes and jumbojets without crashing them.
2-D without acceleration; medium battery draining. Only one screen,
very few noticeable bugs.
- playability: this is one of those silly games that quickly become
addictive. It's been months I'm telling myself "I'll uninstall it",
but -it can't be helped!- I continue playing. While writing this page,
my current record is 112 planes successfully landed.
- result: must have this game. You won't regret having it when you
have 6-7 minutes spare (say, while waiting for the train).
Mini utility to read the current angle in a nicer way than Accdisplay
- usefulness: I don't think I'll ever need it.
- status: uninstall after first usage!
Angry Birds (by Rovio)
Game: throw angry birds to kill pigs.
- playability: this is the most recent version of the ugly
"Catapult" game we played on our home computers somewhere in 1984.
Fancy 2-D graphics do not make more interesting this game. It has
received stunning ratings but actually it's a stupid game.
- status: uninstall after playing one or two times.
Widget: show a scrolling of the latest Associated Press news. You
can select categories (sports, politics, etc) and areas (Europe, US,
etc). Headlines only: clicking on it won't do anything.
- useful: only if you like something moving on your screen
- status: I uninstalled it because I don't care about AP-News
(not only the AP-News-Widget: I had to uninstall the AP-News-installer
GPS track logger widget
Widget: a desktop key to start/stop GPX files.
- useful: sometimes, while biking, it's nice to save the track
for later review on the home PC. This widget just gets the job done
- status: I won't ever uninstall it. I don't use it everyday
because it's quite power-hungry (CPU, storage and GPS).
Bounce Evolution (by Rovio)
Game: move the Bounce in a nice or futuristic world. Well, this is
not a "game", this is actually a demo because it has only two
playable levels (the "nature" one and the "future" one). Remarkable
for its stunning 3-D graphics ("playstation quality", someone
suggests) while not requiring 100% CPU usage.
- playability: nice game; not that addictive, but it's nice to have
it (especially when you want to show the power of the N900).
- status: I don't think I'll ever uninstall it...!
This is one of the crappiest applications. While it described itself
as an application using accelerometers, it does not. A few reasons
why you shouldn't ever bother to know that mSaber exists:
- "Blackberrysomething.com" is shown on the saber
- does not use accelerometers
- does not have an exit key
- the saber is a few hundreds pixel only (c'mon, dudes! we have
an 800-pixel display there!)
Card game of "scopa" (an Italian game). May be addictive for some
people here in Italy because almost everyone has played it when he/she
was a child. Minimal (and badly organized) graphics, and minimal
- playability: almost decent at the hardest level. But after a few
rounds I forgot it.
- status: after a few months, I uninstalled it.
Widget: store accelerometer data while walking, to have a graph of
- usefulness: it may be nice the first day, but... not only is far
from any decent precision (shaking the N900 will make it think you're
running), but it is battery-draining.
Media utility. Yawn. I uninstalled it because it does not add any
extra functionality compared to the stock audio/video player coming
with Maemo 5. Worse, it requires quite a number of screen taps to
get a video playing.
- usefulness: none.
- status: won't ever install it again.
Game: destroy moving enemies, place bombs.
- playability: it can quickly become addictive but... after I did
record 17075 points, I never fancied again playing it :-)
- problems: I hate those "flashing screens" (people will notice
you are playing if you are not in the sunlight)
- status: it's a very CPU-intensive game and it's been months I
don't play with it. Maybe I'll uninstall it.
And then... the "applications" that actually are an interface to
external services. That is: "things that you can do in the browser
but marketing knows that lusers love to install and try instead of
just clicking on a website".
- Dexter - utility to read teletext pages. Doesn't work for Italian
- EasyPark - find your car in the parking. Ouch! This is not a
GPS-based application, so it's useless.
- Live-F1 - Formula 1 results but... it requires a complex login
in text-mode, ouch! Will wait for some non-prealpha release.
- Qypy - huh, another "find me a restaurant" service...
Also listed here applications that even if compilable and runnable,
are useless or simply do not work:
- Anthy - input method for hiragana text
- Bochs - does not have a graphical interface
I disinstalled these, but I feel that one day I will reinstall them:
- Lighttpd webserver (yay!)
- Mappero - nice GPS program, also featuring "speed" and "altitude"
and "satellites" indications, but I don't want to have a dozen of GPS
programs on my N900. Also, the 3.0beta version was not yet "optified".
I also had to uninstall these widgets because... I ran off desktop
space! (that is: in four Desktops I can't place everything because
there are widgets that you just would want to use once per year...)
- Comic widget (nice, but not that great)
- Email widget (I don't receive too many emails on the accounts
I set on my phone)
- Luxus (I've had it installed for months, but I did never
really need it)
Incomplete or bad applications
I uninstalled these apps because they are broken to the level that
you just cannot use them.
- ARapp: doesn't work. Just shows the camera view, but does not
do anything of "augmented reality";
- mBarcode: this would be a great app, but has a number
of nasty bugs and you have to guess every time some acrobatic
random sequence to get the read done; I hope future versions
will correct the bugs, but months passed and no update came...
One of the bugs is activating the flash LEDs while their plastic
window is closed.
These games would require little modification to run on old hardware
with black/white screen and very low computing power. That is another
way to tell you "these crappy games don't deserve even to be named!"
- Crazy Parking
- Snapy (this is one of the lamest games I've ever seen!)
- Tennix (it remembers me of the old "Pong" of 1977...!)
- Labyrinth Lite (d'oh! it's just a demo...)
- nspeed (will try it again when it will use accelerometers
instead of keys)
I also uninstalled those toys good only for five minutes if
you have a boring toddler. Most of these are by Offscr
Technologies, which are generally incomplete and
abandoned demos of software that they will never make:
- Swipecounter widget: this is not precise. Two 20mm
strokes were counted as 15cm, as well as two full-screen
strokes. Far from exact: thus, useless;
Badly ported games
These games, originally intended for computers with large keyboards,
were ported to N900 without taking into account a few important
- N900 has a touchscreen instead of a mouse
- N900 display resolution is 800×480 in 3.5": many pixels in
small areas limit the stupid "just-blit-that-bitmap" based games
- N900 has accelerometers/gyroscopic(angle)meters (most of the
game input could be done without using keyboard!)
- N900 has accelerated 2-D and 3-D graphics (no need to emulate
sliding screens, graphic sprites, etc)
- N900 has a keyboard not suited for fast input
- N900 has a DSP (which could be used for off-loading most of the
- N900 has a GPS (which would allow for great massively multiplayer
gaming mixing real and virtual worlds)
- N900 runs on batteries (games should not require 100% CPU usage;
off-loading 3-D graphics to the accelerated card will make fast 3-D
games with reasonable CPU usage, see Bounce Evolution above)
- Tower Toppler: nice, but it's better playing it on my Linux PC...
- Enigma: not that nice on such a small screen (and it's not
- Ur-Quan Masters - ouch! "Mouse input is not supported, use keyboard
or joystick instead"! ("mouse"? "joystick"?)
- FloboPuyo: sigh! it does not support 800×480 screen and does not work with Italian keyboard
And -sigh!- finally I disinstalled PrBoom (the legendary Doom game)
because you just can't play with the N900 keyboard...!
And finally... the most stupid and useless applications!
Most of these come from AppStore ideas: idiotic software for $0.99
(sometimes even free) for the iPhone, suddenly adapted for the N900
(as if the N900 required those crappy things to be on par with the
Apple crappy iPhone) ;-)
Don't spend time/traffic to even install these things:
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