I can remember a few folks asking me why of consider purchasing a Nokia N9 in 2013. Obviously, it would be something akin to throwing the finger up to Nokia but deliberately not purchasing off of those halo Windows Phone devices to replace my Symbian-powered N8. I want. But, there's something that I do know. And it has all to do with web services and the stubbornness of developers.
The Thing That Happens
You get into this routine of using your device or a service, and then it's taken away. Either it outright dies, or it gets purchased by another company and its left to rot. And that's how things are in the real world with this N9. It was a matter of time before the official updates stopped and then you either build your way forward, or start shopping.
I noticed it when Twitter changed its API and it took a while before that made it to the N9. That response said all that I needed to know about being on corporate last legs. I've been there with other mobile platforms before. Then Dropbox left. The API changed, but no update came. Then a forum post at Nokia's support forums assured most that an update wouldn't come.
That thing that happens just happened again.
A Weed or Flower Arises
There are just enough skilled devs who are fans of the N9 to see this as an opportunity to move forward. A few mentions over at Talk.Maemo and then someone else comes out and offers a Dropbox solution. It's honestly not bad, and at least restores some of what was lost – an ability to upload to the file sharing service. NineDbox should become your new default for Dropbox if you don't need to also manage files. And if you do need to manage files, look at supporting Dropian as he's looking to improve the Dropbox situation on the N9 as well.
That's the thing with the N9 though that's gets a bit lost in the conversion about mobile and what about it can endure. A good platform can be both weed and flower. Like a weed, it can sprout up quickly, and even thrive in adverse conditions. One could make the argument that not only was the N9 placed into a volatile moment when it was depressed, but that is release probably speaks to reasons why it has a pulse still. And then it's like a flower. Even today, there are few mobile platforms that have the consistency of UX found on the N9. It speaks when more that I've of the better promoted Asha devices uses some of the best posts of it. A great flower find a way to bloom on more than just one stem.
Good Roots, Many Rings
Developers are an interesting bunch. And I think that with the N9 and Dropbox, we are seeing some of the potential of the platform being realized. To some degree, I think Nokia has seen and always knew that an open source platform can only be supported by them for so long. At some point, the inventiveness and needs of the owners will need to take over. Its just that with the N9, it happened a lot sooner – and with much of the platform in a beta-like posture than Nokia might have wanted it to be.
Hence some of that stubbornness. No. Its not dead. Its just not officially on the top of the listing of priorities. Web services are one of those roots of this platform that at times seems to be an opportunity. There isn't as much in the way of documentation though to go forward. If the N9 were to survive, if just for a bit longer (Jolla comes out when…), then it would make a lot of sense to see more developers, testers, and experimenters take from the example of NineDbox and patch what can be patched, improve what should be improved.
Instead of throwing the finger at the state Nokia left this device in, perhaps there's room to repot the plant of mobile expectations and blossom into something truly unique. Much of what we see as innovative in newer mobile platforms are things that we've had or near-had on the N9 for a while now.
Side note: I'll review NineDbox in full in a later article.
Any comments or questions on this article can be posted below.
Please note: Prior to undertaking any modification detailed above, understand that there are risks involved. Whilst every modification has been tested to work on the author's Nokia N9, there are no guarantees it will work on a different Nokia N9 or other mobile phone. EverythingN9 will not take responsibility for any effects of a mod, including hardware or software damage, telecommunication charges, or legal implications.