I got around installing the NITDroid 0.0.8 on my N900 unit a few days ago. The installation was quite easy, even though I had to manually partition my MicroSD card. The rest of the installation was a breeze because of the awesome automatic tool by MohammadAG. The after a power cycle the dual boot menu offered easy access to both operating systems.
The initial setup went easily, even though there were no WLAN connectivity at the moment. Both the touchscreen and the keyboard worked perfectly and the auto-rotation was fast and flawless (something you can’t really say about Maemo). WLAN didn’t really want to connect at first, so I had to change the encryption from WPA2 to WPA from my Wireless Access Point. The WLAN support was quite flaky and disconnected in an intermittent fashion and didn’t connect back automatically (or maybe I just had set some option incorrectly)? I couldn’t get 3g radio working at first, but reading t.m.o I discovered that I need to set PIN code query off. A quick boot to Maemo, and Android finally recognized my SIM and carrier. I didn’t bother getting the 3G data working since it would have meant looking up some APN settings on the and, and frankly, I didn’t care that much since I was just trying the OS out. I tried calling my handset and it actually rang. I didn’t test out SMS, but phone is still inoperable due to the lack of working microphone.
The Android Browser was really slick and fast and the system-wide vertical keyboard and automatic word wrap made it fast and intuitive to use. Android market worked after inputting my Google account details, and this also synched my GMail and Google Contacts. I downloaded a few apps and they did work quite well. Most of the stock apps worked without a hitch, major exclusion was the Google Maps, which simply crashed (perhaps due to the lack of working GPS drivers?) Camera App didn’t display picture as expected from not having camera driver, but it displayed some fancy OpenGL animation instead. The music player worked fast and a pleasure to use on to go thanks to the system-wide portrait mode.
One downside of the N900 hardware is definitely the button placement: the back and home buttons are mapped to the camera key and the option/menu key is mapped to the device lock. This made the handset a little awkward to use one-handed. The CPU frequency throttling wasn’t working either, which resulted in pretty horrible battery life – 2 hours at the most.
Well now the bad news, after some days, I let my battery completely run out and this resulted in a reboot loop. It was a time for a reflash. But my computer didn’t want to recognize the N900 and the USB symbol didn’t even light up. I panicked that my phone had been completely bricked, but after some helpful people suggested on #meamo that I should recharge my battery, I charged it in another N900 unit and voilà, I was ready to flash it back to stock firmware.
So the verdict is that NITDroid is still not quite ready for day-to-day usage, but after completely working phone functions and power saving, it could be quite usable. It really could be a viable alternative to Maemo if the basic function such as the camera, GPS and such will be added in addition to those. And of course a lot more polish. It’s still very impressive that the development has gotten to this point!
Anyway, huge thanks to all those involved in NITdroid development, expecially DJ_Steve, Jay-C and e-yes, you guys rock!