I used to be one of those people that actually believed Nokia still has no device to match the iPhone. But it apparently turns out that I was consuming too much news from American journalists who mostly get free iPhones and thus have to justify it by singing the hell out of it.
The view I actually hold now is that Nokia has a device that Apple will never match. Yes. Apple will never produce a device to match Nokia’s N900 running the legendary Maemo OS. It’s not that Apple can’t produce the hardware or software, it’s that it’d be against their business strategy.
A portable netbook, with phoning functionalities, and everything in between, right in your pocket. That’s the N900. Apple is a company that makes money by selling incremental things to people that love to buy things in bits, well sort of. The first iPads did not have camera, USB and other things. The next gen ones will spot all of that. That’s the Apple game. Extract money from customers through the sale of ‘dysfunctional’ things and then charge them extra to make the thing whole.
Also, I’ve now come to the realisation that it’s really pointless comparing the N900 to the iPhone. One is a device that knows you bought it with your hard earned income and so it completely submits to your will. The other is a device that has been told that you loaned it from Cupertino and thus it only obeys what it’s told by Uncle Jobs. That’s a huge difference between the two.
Then again, on the issue of price, buying the N900 for approximately $442 beats the iPhone hands down, which goes for between $1000 and $1300. That’s a small fortune in my part of the world. I could go on and on. The bottom line is that Nokia has a completely different market strategy from Apple. One aims to satisfy a broad range of users with varying budgets. The other aims at the cream of the market with half baked but well marketed and highly hyped products.
So yes, the iPhone is a nice, well polished phone with some computing capabilities that resides in a nicely walled garden. The N900 on the other hand, is a portable computer with phoning capabilities that asks you, “what next do you want to do with me?” Perhaps the Oatmeal explains better what it’s like to own an Apple product.