Dec 282010
 

Nokia’s N900 was originally intended as the first device of many to start a Maemo family – unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to become too popular.

A few individuals have ported various versions of Android, the latest one being Gingerbread. The video below has now popped up on YouTube:

The description reads as following:

Experimental build.
WIP: codecs, voicecalls, gps, camera.

As voice calls don’t seem to work yet, there’s not much to do here – stay tuned for info…

Nov 152010
 

So far, the MeeGo project produced little except for hot air and a few images for the Nokia N900.

Various news sources now claim that the first MeeGo device will hit the road in 2011. One example is the tweet below:
first meego device First MeeGo device drops 2011

As of this writing, not much is known about which device this will be. However, sources inside carriers are busily waiting for “the N9″ ever since the Smartphone Show in London – stay tuned for further info as I get it.

Nov 062010
 

Nokia’s MeeGo is a derivative of the Maemo OS – which powers tablet-like “internet devices”. It is thus not surprising that MeeGo is also tablet-centric to at least some extent.

The video below has now hit YouTube:

Various news sites claim that it shows a rumored MeeGo tablet called Z500 (it has been seen on Ovi a few times in the past) – stay tuned for further info as we get it!

Sep 232010
 

It looks like the Symbian World has followed my advice and is busily hitting Qt 4.7 in order to find bugs.

On Maemo’s end, the situation is less critical – which is why a group of developers have just released an early Host USB patch for the N900:

First of all, thanks to joerg_rw for kicking off the hostmode project, and sarahn for the patches, as well as all the devs involved in the project.
The patches are the same ones released in May/June, with a proper method to reproduce them.

This is a prealpha release, although it works on my device, it has NOT been tested on any other devices (kernel is safe though).
Also, DON’T play with i2cset without knowing what to do, the commands in the UI are safe, but don’t feel free to experiment with them.

As of this writing, the patch is far from complete – hit the URL below to learn more:
http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=62787

Jul 142010
 

Proporta has been providing screen protectors for literally ages. The foil they use is known to be pretty durable, although it has noticeable grain which makes it unsuitable for screens with a very small pixel pitch. Can their offering for the N900 stack up?

As already stated multiple times in the past, Proporta’s products ship in white envelopes which are declared as letter. They ship from the UK, and have always protected their contents so far:
 Proporta Advanced Screen Protector for N900   the review

The blister is the same one which has been used for some time:
 Proporta Advanced Screen Protector for N900   the review

Inside, you find the usual applicator, screen cleaning cloth (use the UNPRINTED side!!!) and the foil itself:
 Proporta Advanced Screen Protector for N900   the review

Once on the N900, disturbing reflections are gone immediately. I saw no changes to touchscreen functionality, and didn’t note the grain being too much of a nuisance after some use (even though it does take some brightness away):
 Proporta Advanced Screen Protector for N900   the review nokia n900 screen protector Proporta Advanced Screen Protector for N900   the review

Finally, cutouts were integrated for the camera and light sensor:
 Proporta Advanced Screen Protector for N900   the review

Given the low price of 7$, this should be a total no-brainer! Get it – NOW!

Jul 012010
 

Nokia’s operating system strategy has never been too clear: now that S60 is free, why should anyone still use S40? And why MeeGo? Questions over questions, and the output from Nokia has not been too clear so far.

Mobile Business Briefing now states the following:

Nokia today said it expects to launch the first high-end devices based on its new MeeGo operating system around year-end and ruled out any plans to support the rival Android platform. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, new mobile solutions chief Anssi Vanjoki said MeeGo will be the base for a wide array of new computer-like devices (eg tablets) as the market for handheld gadgets diversifies.

As of this writing, not much more is known…

P.S. I wonder why the guy even talked about Android. Yes, there were rumors of Palm going Android – but Nokia? Never…

Jun 292010
 

Even though the keyboard of the Nokia N900 is not impressive, the machines openness and decently strong hardware make it the ideal candidate for all kinds of gung-ho ports.

The latest victim OS is Android. While most official Android devices are still waiting for their upgrades, the N900 already has its port.

The video below shows the OS in action:

Jun 032010
 

File this into the folder for unsurprising news – Telefonica has just announced that it intends to support Nokia’s MeeGo platform.

Their announcement came out in PDF form, and contained the following interesting passage:

Today, Telefónica announced it will
jointly explore with Intel and Nokia how to leverage MeeGo’s capabilities in order
to deliver leading and innovative converged services to its customers. The
services could potentially include content and applications that can be accessed
from devices such as smartphones, netbooks, tablets, and internet connected
TVsfor Telefónica’s wireline and wireless operations that currently reach over 265
million customers in 25 countries under the Movistar and O2 brands.

Given that Telefonica has been selling Nokia devices for some time, there is not much to see here – but don’t complain that we didn’t inform you…

P.S. We have an N900 in-house. Should we start a MeeGo blog, or add a few MeeGo categories to TamsS60. Or should we stay out of this market?

May 132010
 

Even though Nokia’s Maemo platform was always intended to be an “open platform”, other vendors were not too interested in it. The platform has now been renamed to MeeGo, but…well, repainting a cow does not change its contents.

However, Shanzai manufacturers are always on the look-out for opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Strange operating systems are one possible way – enter the AIGO WalkShow:
Aigo Walkshow NX 7001 maemo AIGO NX7001 WalkShow   Maemo, not from Nokia

ChiniTech reports the following:

The Chinese manufacturer Aigo does not seem to slow its pace of innovation. Here is today a new MID, called Walkshow NX7001. This new model has the particularity to look like a smartphone and runs Maemo Linux. This device has a 3G and WiFi module to access to internet, and also a GPS and Bluetooth module. It will fit perfectly in a pocket thanks its compact size, 146*75*18mm.

As of now, nobody knows when this 500$ unit will hit the road in the USA and Europe – stay tuned…

Apr 022010
 

Nokia’s Qt ports are best classified as work in progress – Symbian-based Qt apps can’t be released, and don’t even get me started on Maemo-based ones.

The fast “patching sequence” should thus be unsurprising. The latest patch for Maemo brings us up to 4.6.2+; and mainly bothers with kinetic scrolling:

Up until now, kinetic scrolling was limited to 20 fps. This is a good default, since 20 fps look smooth, don’t drain too much battery and leave some CPU for background processes/threads (isn’t it nice to have multi-tasking?). However, for demo purposes, you might want to have 60 fps for that really, really smooth look, so we introduced the QAbstractKineticScroller::scrollsPerSecond property. Unfortunately, our camera cannot grab 60 fps, so no youtube video today

The second interesting feature is QAbstractKineticScroller::axisLockThreshold. Imagine that a user scrolls downwards in a QScrollArea. Now, unless he’s an android, he won’t manage to scroll down in a perfect line, usually it’s something like 100 pixels downwards and 5 pixels to the left. The axisLockThreshold property allows to lock the scrolling to the nearest X or Y axis. In our example, the 5 pixels to the left are ignored, and the view just moves 100 pixels down.

Finally, QAbstractKineticScroller::OvershootPolicy allows to set the overshooting behavior when scrolling. The default is to just do overshooting when a view is able to scroll in a particular direction. In addition to the default behavior, overshooting can now be completely disabled, or always forced on

Further information via the URL below:
http://labs.trolltech.com/blogs/2010/04/01/pr-12-sdk-for-maemo-released-with-qt-46/

Feb 112010
 

Ports and quality issues usually go hand-in-hand. From Palm’s infamous SUDS and headphone issues, to various other eekers – if devices break down en masse, one can suspect that an external port is the culprit in many a case.

Nokia seems to join the camp – the image below shows one of many N900′s with a broken MicroUSB port:
nokia n900 micro usb Nokia N900   or   MicroUSB pain

So far, Nokia Care centres have not been able to figure out what to do: Nokia says that they must repair it for free, while others charge quite a bit of money for the fix…

Feb 012010
 

Don’t ask me why, but it looks like Nokia has some issues promoting its next “super box”. I don’t really have any other explanation for the video below, which shows a Nokia N900 barely managing to “run” Mac OS X via an emulator:

Its creator Toni Nikkanen describes it as follows:

As you can see from the heavily edited video, it took almost 2 hours to reach the “About my Mac…” window. Keep your eye on the time display as that will give you an impression of just how uselessly slow it is. The emulator I used was the latest CVS snapshot of PearPC, which to my eye appears to be pretty good quality code, built without problems in Scratchbox. I experimented with the various frontends and finally settled on the SDL one, since support for the mouse cursor seemed to work best there. As in my previous emulation attempts, I used x11vnc to remotely control the mouse from a laptop sitting nearby. And once again the screen size of N900 was slightly too little to run something that expects a desktop-size display.

Further information can be had at the URL below:
http://www.tuug.fi/~toni/serendipity/index.php?/archives/13-Mac-OS-X-10.3-running-on-the-N900!.html

Jan 142010
 

Hot on the heels of the recent batch of firmware enhancements, Nokia Conversations has just announced the second firmware update for the N900. Unlike the first, which only enabled the Ovi Store, we are looking at a real bugfix release here:

First up is support for the Swiss keymat variant with hardware and virtual keyboard layouts supporting the combination of German, Italian and English characters. We’ll also see full compatibility with certain SIM cards from network operator 3. Although only a small number of SIM cards were impacted at the time, this release means the N900 is now fully compatible with 3 SIM cards.

Mail for Exchange also sees an update which will it allow it to work with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. This should bring the possibility of Exchange integration to a much broader group of users.

Ovi Maps also gets the update treatment, with improvements made to search performance and route calculation. Beyond these major changes come a range of smaller usability improvements which have been worked into the release and are based on the excellent user feedback the team have received (keep it coming).