Well, the main difference is that maemo is an open platform while android, although it's linux, is not an open platform at all. I work in open source technologies (and a subcontractor for Nokia, so i've worked on Maemo for the last 2.5 years) so I know a bit more on the difference between the two. Android doesn't use an X server, you can't have anything other than java apps running on it, it just has a linux kernel behind it, but that's it.. and Google is known to do a lot of stuff on their own, never contribute back to the open source world, or they contribute stuff that nobody but them can use, etc.. while maemo is very open.
Originally Posted by Rav
Nokia even goes as far as to give you all the documents and tools you need to build a new distribution for the phone and the tools to create your own firmware image and flash your N900 with your own distro (There's the "Mer" distro for internet tablets for example). You get root access as well as the 'xterm' application installed right out of the box, on the official firmware.. for android, you usually need to use some hacks just to get that root access.
Also, what I liked the most is that for example, I ported aMSN on the N900 (http://www.amsn-project.net/maemo-downloads.php) and all I had to do is something like this (on my debian system) :
and I got myself a fully working, no porting needed, aMSN deb to install on my N900, scp, ssh, dpkg -i, and I ran aMSN. (note, I also had to do the exact same with the packages tcl8.5, tk8.5 and tcltls, which also worked without any porting necessary).
kakaroto% apt-get source amsn
scratchbox% cd amsn-0.98.1
scratchbox% dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot
I'm sure I can't do this on an Android phone.. not only, would it not be as simple as that, but I think I couldn't even run my favorite app on android because it's a Tcl/Tk application, not a Java application, and because Android doesn't have an X server, etc...
It's this kind of power that allows the N900 to have such awesome applications, anything existing on your desktop can run on your Maemo device! Just for this reason, I am happy to say that I would never exchange a Maemo device against any Android device.
Sorry for the long post, I got carried away
p.s: humm... should I try to build open-remote-play for the N900?...
For those interested, here's a build of Open remote play running on the N900 : http://kakaroto.homelinux.net/~kakaroto/n900/orp/
just follow the instructions... I didn't bother creating a .deb, so just scp those files somewhere on your N900 (like /opt/orp) and run /opt/orp/orpui directly through xterm or using ssh.
It works, but it seems that the rendering with the SDL is extremely CPU hungry so it's slower than bearable, not usable at all actually... The UI also needs some work. I had to disable the bitrate setting in the profile edition page, because it didn't fit in the resolution of the screen, and there was no scrollbar, so it was impossible to save the ip address of the ps3.
The input key bindings also need to be changed since they refer to non existing keys on the N900 keyboard (F1/F2/F3/F4/Escape/etc..). I tried to take a screencast, but it didn't work because the screencast couldn't capture the rendered frames, it just showed a green frame instead of what I was seeing.
I hope others will get the motivation to improve this. Enjoy!