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Archive for the 'Nokia' Category

Russell Beattie is of course a famously garrulous mobile-platform instigator. Now what does

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he mean by this latest (7 minutes ago) observation (OK, it was a tweet):

Dear colleagues at Nokia: You can't delete blog posts. Ever.

Anyone in these forums care to clue us in?

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Most of what I learn about Nokia and the internet tablets comes from following links posted in blogs written by more clued-in folks. One link today was to a post about the QT Animation framework written only yesterday by Kaj Grönholm. (Neat video here.)

Another link I tripped over was much older. And so

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I just learned today that the CEO of Nokia was being interviewed on YLE (the Finnish national broadcasting corporation) almost six weeks ago when he let drop that, why, yes, Nokia is thinking about making laptop computers.

As Reuters blandly noted, rumors about such a move have been floating around since “late last year,” but CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo's on-air “comment was the first official admittance of such plans.”

Determining the role that the Internet Tablet will play in the cellphone maker's future has been nigh unto impossible to ken. After all, Nokia will have to have an iPhone simulacrum and having that complicates the tablet position. And if Nokia is going to reverse-traverse Apple's computer-to-phone trajectory, well, there are plenty of complications in separating out the tablet, UMPC, netbook, ultraportable and notebook niches even before you throw phone connectivity into the mix.

What can I say? We live in interesting times.

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Nokia has just announced the new Maemo 5 SDK. The 100% open source, pre-alpha release is currenlty aimed at platform developers allowing them to take a peek at the new Kernel as well as new components coming to Maemo for the first time, notably OMAP3 support, cellular data connectivity, high-definition camera support, and harware-based graphic accelleration.

A new revamped UI and a new media application framework is expected to be released soon, taking advatage of the new OMAP3 architecture, as well as the built-in graphics acceleration. Because of this, support for OMAP2 devices (Nokia N800, N810) will not be officially provided. An invitation is extended to developers however, to build variants of Maemo 5 that would work with older devices.

A complete list of the contents of the Maemo 5 SDK after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Maemo 5 Reveals its Features’

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As the Maemo Summit came to a close on Saturday afternoon, I was sitting down at the front of the rmeeting room, looking for an outlet to charge my Internet Tablet. An unexpected and oddly stirring session on where we were going had ended abruptly, and now the microphone had passed from the audience back to the stage. The last words of these eventful two days were being issued by the same keep-things-moving ringmaster who had enforced the five-minutes-and-not-one-second-more lightning talks, and in the same keep-things-moving tone.

And I found myself calling loudly for the microphone, interrupting things simply to prevent the benediction from being pronounced on our assembly.

Some three hundred people were about to leave the Maemo Summit, having experienced an extraordinary feeling of optimism and gratitude. Happiness, you might even say.

Achieving that result was no small accomplishment.

I didn't particularly have anything to say. But if there was one thing I knew, it was that there was a more fitting tone to close on than merely reminding everyone of the last item on the day's agenda.

So when the microphone was hurriedly passed to me — What? We're ending now! — I just spoke about what I was feeling: gratitude. And that gratitude was most focused on the ringmaster standing in front of us then. Because of course the person most responsible for the Summit's having taken place and had such remarkable results was Nokia's Quim Gil.

I don't know if I would say Quim has a thankless job, but surely in his role of interfacing with the Maemo Community and, as he says, “promoting intelligence at maemo.org,” he has to field more of our negativity and dissatisfaction than anyone else at Nokia.

Quim is forceful and optimistic and more tolerant of benighted foolishness than anyone has a right to expect. (Anyone expressing that foolishness, that is.) I know this from my own dealings with him, in which I have evinced rather more than usual of my benighted and dimwitted side.

From the initial notion of a Maemo conclave — which he suggested spontaneously if not off-handedly during a cab ride — to organizing the schedule and then orchestrating its execution, every part of the Summit bore his fingerprints.

In no small measure, the remarkable vibrations we experienced resulted from Quim's efforts, his passion, his optimism and tolerance and forcefulness.

We have a lot to thank him for — and others too, but let's focus on one thing at a time.

I hope that our thanks for all Quim did to bring this Summit into existence and make it so eventful will help balance against the manifestations he experiences of our less gracious side the rest of the time.

At least we can say that we — people here and everywhere who make up the Maemo Community — are consistent in our behavior: we are always going to hold someone responsible for something that just happened.

In this case, it's you, Quim. This has been a great experience for all of us. Thank you.


Well, that's what I was trying to say, when I said whatever it was I actually said. I kept it short and didn't mention any of the traits of the magnificent I've identified here, but I figure Quim needs much more of our gratitude expressed than he usually hears, so I have permitted myself to add the unexpressed subtext of that verbal thanks here.

Plus I don't work behind the scenes, so I don't know who the unsung heroes of our Maemo Summit are. Our gratitude extends to them as well, of course, but for today, Quim will have to stand in for everyone's contributions. He'll need to apportion our thanks to the deserving others on his own.

Note: Part I: What I didn't say and Part II: What someone else said are in progress.

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Up until last week, getting Maemo developers, Nokians and what Reggie describes simply as “enthusiasts” all together in one location, a Maemo Summit, seemed to me to be a good idea. I was wrong, I realize now: not a good idea.

A brilliant idea.

We all know the next steps in the development of this “mobile internet device” niche are critical — critical for Nokia, for the market itself, for the users, especially those first adaptors (that would be us, the posters and readers of itT forums), the recently dubbed “Maemo Community.”

At several disparate points in the summit, speakers noted how putting, say, coders and UI designers on the same team made for faster progress, fewer missteps, information being communicated with less noise.

Having the Summit took this idea of integration a level higher: instead of all the misconceptions that occur from separated contributors, whose every written note can be misinterpreted and its tone wildly misconstrued, now three-dimensional humans exist in the spot where virtual constructs and avatars stood.

The takeaway
In four days in Berlin — two at OSiM World (Open Souce in Mobile) followed by two at the Maemo Summit — I learned about enough interesting developments and projects to occupy a mere 10 or 12 days a week to follow completely, and participate in some.
Continue reading ‘Takeaway from the Maemo Summit’

As a nonce word, the pronunciation of maemo isn't something you can check in a dictionary. And given its provenance, I'd venture that most people first encountered this word in print, and not orally.

Should each vowel be pronounced, making this one really short three-syllable word? Could be.

Should the first syllable be pronounced the same as the month of May? Makes sense.

Or does a followed by e represent the ae diphthong, which if really stretched out would be “maaa-eee” but which English speakers consider a long i: “my”? Well, yes, why not?

I've heard all these pronunciations used at OSiMWorld the past couple days, plus the “two-and-a-half-syllable” variation (really short e) and the “silent a” (“me”-mo).

Now some might argue that, as a trademark, Maemo's pronunciation is properly decided by Nokia. But I figure if Sony couldn't dictate that its corporate name be pronounced “sunny” (intended as a slang-y spelling of “sonny”-boy), that argument doesn't hold water.

Someone said this evening that “I expect it to be 'may-mo' but I think of it as 'my-mo'.” Me, too.

The first Maemo Summit begins Friday in Berlin. Since this event is birthing the Maemo Community to formally represent all the non-Nokia participants involved in our pocket revolution — that would be us enthusiasts, the users and developers — I'd like to point out that one good reason for preferring “my-mo” is simply how it subliminally confers this new status. Maybe Nokia has the trademark, but it is sharing ownership with us. With me. And now it truly is my Maemo.

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The OSiM Maemo Developer Session today has previewed interesting topics to be discussed in detail tomorrow at the Maemo Summit. Below are some updates and some of the new and updated technologies that we can expect in future Maemo devices:

Newly adopted technologies:

  • Meta Tracker – content search and metadata tools
  • Pulse Audio – sound server replacing ESD & ALSA
  • OHM – Hardware management daemon
  • gUPnP – seamless connectivity between devices
  • upstart – fast system boot & stop

Updated technologies:

  • Gecko – now integrated with mozilla.org
  • Bluez – now with A2DP
  • gstreamer – now with openMAX
  • GTK+ – pushing mobile optimization
  • Telepathy – now with Farsight2

New contributions to the open source community:

  • to kernel.org:
    • HSPA/3G enablers for OMAP3 -> kernel.org
  • to garage.maemo.org:
    • stlc45xx.aka – the much awaited WLAN driver
    • DSME – hardware watchdog & thermal monitoring
    • MIDAS – media player application framework
    • Calendar engine – iCal RFC 2445 implementation

Maemo Fremantle:

  • SDK to be released soon
  • list of packages now available
  • incremental weekly releases unitl final version

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Three years ago, the Nokia Internet Tablet was revolutionary: it had a screen wide enough to display a web page, it cost way less than you'd expect, it was meant for carrying around in a way that no laptop/notebook ever had been. WiFi was engendering the walkaround web.

Add a webcam, GPS, keyboard; make it faster, more reliable; keep churning away at the migration of free-libre-open-source software. Three years down the road and the tablet team has not stopped pushing the envelope.

But is Nokia's tablet revolutionary anymore?

My son's friend does as much or more with his iPod Touch (16GB model for $269.99) [1], — even though it is more restricted in what it can do.

Both Apple's and Nokia's tablets forgo disk drives, emphasizing the screen. But the the iPod touch and its progenitor, the iPhone, instantly persuade you that a keyboard is unneeded and unnecessary. The media aspects — video and YouTube video, music and accessing music via the web — push other considerations aside: the idea that the lame telco phones suffice for the walkaround web couldn't be more effectively (or contemptuously) dismissed.

Contrary to the optimistic predictions, ubiquitous and free WiFi hasn't materialized yet. For now, the walkaround web depends on a tablet screen and a data-cellphone connection. That's where the iPhone is situated, not the Internet Tablet, and by its sales figures you have to concede that bundling the connection with the screen appeals to more people than separating them.

I'm reminded of the quote from a French revolutionary leader [2], “There go the people. I must follow them. I am their leader.”

Um, the people are heading off in another direction.

Are we going with them? And if so, what is necessary for the Nokia Internet Tablet to remain in the forefront of the tablet revolution?

Dropping the price would keep it there. (For a while, anyway.) Some people have argued the interface ought to abandon the computer GUI heritage and adopt a big-graphic Apple-like approach. You know you'll see phone companies offering some Apple-influenced devices soon.

And there's the phone.

Some while back, I wished for an impossibility — a slot in the NIT for a SIM card, so it could connect via a telco data plan. Why not just make it a phone then, a la the iPhone? I don't know. I guess I want it to be a tablet, not a phone, unless I'm using a voip connection.

Subconciously, I must have accepted the argument that Nokia is approaching the iPhone feature-set from two directions — smart phones that would become more and more computery, and the Internet Tablet, which would be always a complement to (and not a replacement for) a cellphone.

But without ubiquitous online access, the NIT just gives us the semi-revolutionary walk-around-the-office-or-home-only web. So, one way or another, that has to change. Maybe it means we'll see a phone added to the NIT. Or phone/NIT bundles from the carriers. Or WiFi-hotspot/NIT bundles.

Unless it gives me the web everywhere, the NIT falls into the merely convenient and not revolutionary category.

Of course, there is one way we're still participating in revolutionary activity. That's via the FLOSS/Linux connection. The keyboard on the N810 may be a step backward from the perspective of the interface, but it greatly simplifies using a ported Linux-desktop app.

And that's a big deal. Partly because it ensures an inexhaustible supply of software. And underlying the web and our incarnation of it, the walkaround web, is our understanding that it has flourished because of the open nature of that earlier revolution.

Whereas “open” is not a word that appears in frequent proximity of “Apple.” The iPhone is engendering what we might term a Disney revolution, one in which the benefits accrue mostly to one company (which provides more entertaining or novel experiences to us customers than we got before).

When you see Nokia giving its $800-million investment in Symbion to an open-source foundation, you know that it is acting in its own financial interests. Nothing else could explain such sums. The tablet/phone OS field is weighted in favor of Apple and Microsoft and Google, and so Nokia is looking around to see who its friends are.

That would be us.

We're Nokia's friends. Us, the Maemo community, the FLOSS community, the Linux believers.

The revolutionary mob, as it were.

I believe the Nokia tablet is going to thrive in direct proportion to our community's success in promoting/extending/liberating Maemo. Because Nokia may not ever release a $100 NIT with a SIM-card slot, but some enterprising Asian manufacturer likely will. And running Maemo on all those Microsoft-spec'd UMPC's is going to bring even more people into the fold who are interested in tablet-sized apps working better. Every improvement developed on the outside will benefit the Internet Tablets that Nokia makes, and a larger pool of tablet users (especially Maemo tablet users) means a larger potential audience for Nokia to sell to.

And maybe the N810's built-in GPS and cam calling will finally get the attention it deserves.

So I'm looking forward to the meeting in Berlin next month. Will it be a revolutionary congress that dissolves into infighting and factions? Or one that presses forward to spread the revolution?


[1] 16GB refurbished at buy.com, shipping included.

[2] This was said by Alexandre Ledru-Rollin during the 1848 revolution, and not the 1789 revolution.

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Yay, Diablo has been released! Nokia has just released new firmware upgrades for the Nokia N810 and N800 Internet Tablets that adds a Seamless Software Upgrade Feature. Based on Maemo 4.1 (Diablo),  the new OS2008 feature upgrade lets you now perform future OS upgrades over-the-air (WLAN only).

A new automatic notification from the home screen will now notify you of new versions of the OS and system apps, including updates to third party applications. The new firmware also replaces the current email app with an open source version based on Modest and tinymail. Chinese fonts have also been added, reported openssl bugs have been fixed, and browsing panning experience has been improved.

Links: Nokia N800 Firmware, Nokia N810 Firmware, maemo.org announcement

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Nokia is quite serious in redefining the Maemo brand and maemo.org, the community behind Maemo, is holding a maemo.org logo contest (pending proposal approval). If you happen have an eye on simplicity and comfortable in using fonts with open license, design and submit a new maemo.org logo before August July 27, 2008 and you can win yourself (again, pending proposal approval) an all expense paid trip to the Open Source in Mobile (OSiM) World and the very first Maemo Summit in Berlin, Germany on September, plus be among the first to own the new Nokia N810 WiMAX Edition.

Head on to the official maemo.org logo contest wiki page for the details of the contest proposal.

Update: Contest is now official.

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