Pritish Chakraborty

Work and Everything Else

An Ode to Nokia

So the time has finally come, ladies and gentlemen. Microsoft has decided to do away with the Nokia brand altogether.

While Nokia will still operate as a separate business, it will focus on mapping and network infrastructure.

I have used both a Nokia smartphone and a regular phone (dumbphone). The defining features of Nokia’s phones (before MS came along) had always been sturdiness and long battery life - both of which I have experienced. I spent four and a half years with a Nokia N900, so it has special memories for me.

When it was released, N900 was all the hype. Unfortunately, as bug after bug was discovered, and many of them remained unfixed, it could not live up to the hype. Still, it was a pretty damn good phone and I still have it - I do not intend to sell it. Infact, I highly doubt anyone besides Linux lovers, security researchers and the odd enthusiast would even want it.

Sporting 32 gigs of internal memory and a 5MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens, I can’t say I didn’t have a good time with it. It wasn’t exactly an iPhone killer, but it is good at what it’s supposed to do. Unfortunately, it never really kicked off with a proper ecosystem of its own. It is also the only phone I have seen that supports a terminal emulator out of the box - that means a lot for geeks like me.

The N900 is still fighting to stay relevant. The NeoN900 project is definitely one to follow - interesting things are in the pipeline. For geeks who prefer touch-and-type like me, this could be what we’re looking for. I currently use a Sony Xperia ZR, which is pretty damn good in its own right, but it’s not a geek’s dream smartphone. I urge you to donate to the NeoN900 project, because it’s out of projects like these that the next big thing comes from.

Another area where the N900 still shines is in information security. NeoPwn is a suite of mobile pentetration testing tools that can be installed on the N900. I have not tried them yet - if I do in future, I will definitely post about it! So far, all I have done is use aircrack-ng to obtain (ahem) a neighbour’s WiFi password - they were still using the WEP form of encryption - as an experiment with Kali Linux. But that is for another day, another post.

Thanks for all the good (and shitty) times, Nokia.