NYC on 2 Nokias a day

NYC on 2 Nokias a day

Summary: Which leads to the point of this post. Although I did take the MacBook along for the trip, once I saw the close quarters and realized that connectivity was going to be intermittent at best, I made what for me is a pretty radical decision and decided to do the entire trip using the Nokia N95 "handheld multimedia computer" (AKA smartphone) and N800 internet tablet as my principle means of staying connected to e-mail, IM, RSS, and blogging.


The new mobile office

A couple of weeks ago, I took the family on a trip to New York City. We got a pretty good deal on travel in the form of a package deal from that included four round-trip tickets and two hotel rooms for about $600 per person for a four-night, five-day visit. The purpose of the trip was to attend a family event, see relatives and friends, and spend a bit of time in the city.

The package included two rooms at the Hudson Hotel, conveniently located at Columbus Circle and Broadway, right at the southern end of Central Park. If you're not familiar with the city, this is a pretty central location with easy access to the subway, cabs, Times Square, and the Upper West Side where the events were held.

The Hudson is a pretty trendy spot with a very loud, boisterous nightlife scene centered around a very attractive indoor/outdoor garden lobby space. The rooms are... well to call them small would be charitable. Reminiscent of the dorm-style Euro hotels, they're fine for a single person and very, very intimate for two. Wireless access was an additional fee and pretty spotty.

Which leads to the point of this post. Although I did take the MacBook along for the trip, once I saw the close quarters and realized that connectivity was going to be intermittent at best, I made what for me is a pretty radical decision and decided to do the entire trip using the Nokia N95 "handheld multimedia computer" (AKA smartphone) and N800 internet tablet as my principle means of staying connected to e-mail, IM, RSS, and blogging. All but the last were an unqualified success and the only reason blogging failed was that I simply didn't have time to do any writing.

The Nokia devices performed flawlessly. I got a good solid signal everywhere in the city (T-Mobile) and was able to use WiFi in the Starbucks down the street from the hotel in the mornings when I made my coffee and chai run. I was able to keep up with mail using the Gmail client on the N95 and the e-mail application and browser on the N800 for Gmail and company IMAP mail. Paired with my trusty Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard, I was able to pop off messages as needed.

Although I know my way around Manhattan pretty well, I did use the N95's built-in GPS to get oriented a couple of times and it worked like a charm (although GPS usage dramatically impacts battery life). Google Maps also worked as expected on both the Nokia devices and it was this app (as well as the multimedia applications) that really showed off the advantages of a phone with a display that can be used in both portrait and landscape orientations.

I used the Ultimate Ears Pro 5 earbuds to listen to MP3 and streaming music, podcasts, and video on both devices with the amazing sound quality and noise isolation I've come to expect form these earbuds and used the Plantronics 510 Bluetooth headset for cellular, Skype (via Fring on the N95) and Gizmo (on the N800) calls.

The entire kit fit into my coat pockets or a small gear bag and was so much easier to carry around the city than a laptop.

This is the new mobile office.

Topic: Nokia

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  • A Cry for Help

    It's a sickness for which I have not found a good support group, and the condition is only exacerbated by reading Marc Orchant blogs.

    Oh no--It wasn't good enough to have an N800, Nokia keyboard, Moto E815, and Moto bt headset.

    It went from there onto more compulsive buying of a Proporta N800 carrying case and a I had to have a car mount kit:

    and a Holux GPSlim 240 to run with Maemo Mapper and Google Maps there anybody out there? Bueler?

    Now, because of cool hi-tech Marc, I [b]have GOT[/b] to have an N95!

    Oh, the humanity! ;)
    D T Schmitz
    • Oh dear... I'm an enabler

      Sounds like you have a good setup Dietrich. I must say the N95 is really growing on me. This is the first time in years I've used anything exclusively other than my Treo and aside from teh fact that I'm still a bit clumsy with T9 input, I could do everything I wanted. And the photos came out really well (the N95 is a 5 mp vs. the Treo's low 1/3 mp resolution).
      • Will an unlocked N95 work with Verizon for both voice and data (VZW)?

        [url=]direct email contactify me with your experiences here--much appreciated[/url]

        On the verge of pressing the 'order' key for an N95....
        D T Schmitz
        • Don't think so...

          The N95 uses GSM technology while Verizon (and Sprint) use CDMA. If you DO get the N95, be prepared to get yourself a T-Mobile or Cingular plan.
        • Wolfie is right

          Dietrich - I know you already pressed the order button so this is late but Wolfie is right. In the US, your options will be Cingular or T-Mobile. Given the leading role T-Mobile has established in developing a public infrastructure of WiFi locations in Starbucks, hotels, airports, and college campuses, I elected to go with them. My all-you-can-eat-internet add-on includes T-Mobile HotSpot access. And, as you'll see in the next newer post, T-Mobile is also in the lead to deploy a UMA-based solution for the home.

          But the bottom line is always service quality in your location. T-Mobile is a bit better than Cingular where I live in terms of coverage so that was another factor in my decision. Be aware that using an unlocked device means that some of the premium services (like T-Mobiles any-five-people-on-any-network option will not work on your unlocked device.
  • Is Edge enough?


    What a timely story. While my work life has become less mobile, rather than more, I am in the market for a new cell phone to pair with my iPaq and maybe a Nokia N800, which I have been considering as a "lite" alternative to my laptop for surfing the web, RSS reading and lite apps.

    I currently have Verizon but am thinking about the switch to GSM but don't know whether I really need to go for 3G or can live nicely with Edge, which gives me a choice of providers.

    My question is whether you feel the need for 3G for either the N95 (which I know does not use 3G) or to power the N800 connection. (I'm not thinking about the N95 as my phone but am thinking about this as a generic cell issue.)

    I am in the Chicago area, so I am assuming a strong Edge connection.

    Thanks. BTW I just came across your Platform Agnostic Blog from comments on JK on the Run and am looking forward to following you there.

    • 3G vs. Edge? Depends...

      That's a typical cop out answer but ti really does depend on what sort of tasks you need to perform when working "lite". T-Mobile's network is nowhere near as fast as the EVDO speeds I get from my Treo 700p (Verizon). Aside from image transfers and downloading podcast and streaming video, I can't tell the difference.

      Streaming net radio, for example, works just as well with the N95 as it does with the Treo due to the buffering employed by the client on the N800. E-mail and IM are equally fast on either network.

      What I like about the all-Nokia combo is the small size of everything. The Treo is pretty much a brick next to the N95 (but it has a keyboard and larger screen which is touch-enabled so as always, there are tradeoffs).

      I think you'll be OK either way but what I think makes the most sense is to hit up a buddy with 3G and pair it to the N800 befor e you make a final phone decision.
      • Thanks

        You didn't cop out but gave me clear examples of the applications that need extra bandwith (and which I don't expect to make a lot of use of except though a wi-fi connection.

        I don't have any friends with a 3G, so I hope I can bother my local Cingular office to get what I need to know.

        Thanks again.

  • Travel apps beyond Google maps?

    Anything else in the mobile app dept you would recommend beoyond gmaps while travelling in the US?
    • Not as far as mobile apps goes

      I find that Google Maps and the built-in GPS application on the N95 meet my needs just fine. On the Tablet PC, I use Streets & Trips which comes with a very nice little GPS receiver. I don't have a recommendation on the Mac.

      Treo users should visit Treonauts. My buddy Andrew has been doing a great job staying up-to-date with the navigation ssyems for that device.

      And the N800 can be equipped with the Navicor GPS package so you don't need the phone at all for navigation. I have not tried that solution yet but did see an impressive demo at CES in January.