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[13 Feb 2011 | | ]
Nokia strategy – what about N900 and MeeGo?

During last few days Nokia came up with few interesting, yet disturbing decisions. Cooperation with Microsoft, huge change in smartphone platform plans, sudden change of heart with MeeGo platform, so what can we expect with N900 and Linux smartphones from Nokia?
Let me start with quote from one of my favourite computer games:
The village is dying. The signs are everywhere. Withering crops… dying brahmin… sick children.
There is hope, however. A slim hope that few know of.
First of all I’m having mixed feelings about strategic cooperation with Microsoft. First of all switch in management, new CEO – Stephen Elop, originally president of Microsoft Business division, this was first sign of upcoming changes. I’m not saying that Microsoft is the greatest evil on whole world, but after acquiring such manager it was unavoidable that Nokia and Microsoft will cooperate soon. On the other hand I’ve seen emphasis on MeeGo during conference in Dublin last year, cooperation with Intel and AMD seemed quite steady.
Second thing is status of MeeGo, I feel that it will remain in the same state as Maemo from the very beginning, it will show up on one phone, most probably the one that leaked some time ago in pictures, mostly because of all of Windows Phone 7 strategy for Nokia smartphones. Let me remind you of some old Maemo devices, like Nokia N770 (internet tablet), which came with Maemo 1 and 2, next device Nokia N800/N810 with Maemo 3 and 4. Why this inventions were not continued on other devices? Same thing happened with Maemo 5, in my opinion pretty nice system for mobile phones, if it were continued and furtherly developed it could be really succesfull on newer phones, with more features, it could even compete with other popular platforms. But no, Nokia starts with something new, releaases on small market and finally abandons it.
Now I’m really loosing faith in Nokia. The hope I mean lies in our hands, in what we can do now, I think that giving N900 and Maemo 5 maintenance to community was the best thing that could have happened. Now we have the power …

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[24 Jan 2011 | | ]
Qt for Nokia – get trained

I was writing about Qt few times ago, with some examples how to use it on N900. Apart from that it’s framework to be used with more Nokia mobiles like N8. Because Nokia ties its future with Qt I think it’s good idea to get familiar with this technology, because it may be future for Ovi by Nokia and many more. So let’s think about possibilities.
First of all you can attend one of many events related to Qt, try googling a bit more to find one in your area. If it’s organised by Nokia you can even join a contest, my work collegues did some time ago and it appears to be very good opportunity to show yourself as good developer, team leader or at least show your ideas to wider audience. First of it I can think of is Innovation Contest, just check it.
Second of all trainings, it seems like Qt trainings are happening everywhere around, so you can have a bit easier beginning. You can try the one related to Innovations Contest or for example well tested Qt Essentials Training and certification system.
Finally, when Qt went Open Source it’s developing quite nicely giving more and more possibilities, not only for mobile devices but also for desktop, with a bit of luck you can create something used on desktop computers, phones, laptops, tablets and many more. Current Qt status gives quite good idea of expansion it has made last few yars, from small visualisation library to complete framework for almost every digital device around. I think it’s really nice to at least try.

MJ

Featured, Headline, News »

[23 Jan 2011 | | ]
Glamorous N900 cases

I’m lying sick… again… and with doing so I was thinking that it was long time since there was some update about products in our store. It’s new year, new possibilities, new ideas, so let’s have a look at some of new products. Nice-looking, shiny N900 cases.
Have you ever heard about Swarovski? It’s brand name for variety of products ornamented with precisely-cut crystals. Many electronic companies have released their products in limited Swarovski editions (I’ve heard about phones, PC chasis, watches and many more). So what about making your N900 look more fancy and glamorous?
Now you can get one of available N900 cases directly from our N900 store. You can choose if it will be Pink Star Case (self describing, with pink star pattern), Purple Bling Case (with purple hearts) or Flower Bling Case (light purple with colorful flower).
I know not everyone like this style, maybe not mine either, I prefer simple black, more business-suited, better for my current occupation and lifestyle. But if so think of people around you, it may be good gift for the one you like, the one you love, your girlfriend, fiance, wife, sister, daughter. Check out also the rest of new products in Nokia N900 Store.

MJ

Featured, Feedback, News »

[11 Jan 2011 | | ]
New year, new wishes, new rumors – PR1.4

After few days of vacation I got back to reality and tracking news about Nokia N900, Maemo, MeeGo and other things related to my work and hobbies. It seems like new year came with some uncertain news about PR1.4 firmware update.
For quite some time people were wandering if Nokia is about to release next firmware update. Since PR1.3 was announced to be the last official upgrade for N900 and MeeGo is under heavy development I think that this won’t change in next few months or ever. Lots of speculations appeared around the web, wishes of what we would like to see in next release (like this 5 things thread at talk.maemo.org) and lot of wishful thinking. Finally some people got really excited with uncertain news about PR1.4 coming this year struggling around this news in another thread.
What’s the fact? The fact is that Nokia is still holding that PR1.4 will never come, at least from them. All of the informations are coming from uncertain sources and none was supported by any official statement from Nokia. We can hope that something changes but we have to keep in mind that Nokia focuses on MeeGo right now, so if we’ll really have this update some day it won’t be as soon as 20011 Q2.
May the patience and hope be with us!

MJ

Applications, Featured, News, Reviews, Software »

[31 Dec 2010 | | ]
SPB TV – internet television for N900

Right now I’m away from home, having few days off during this free christmas and new years time. I’m having my N900 with me and sometimes I like to peek what’s going on back in Poland. I can do it thanks to SPB TV. And it’s free!
Last time I’ve downloaded SPB application I was really amused, application was quite well written, stable, good looking and generally nice, it was SPB Brain Evolution 2, really nice mind training game.

This time I’ve cecked SPB TV, wandering what actually it can do and if I can find some polish TV stations. Download, installation and first run was smooth, nothing to describe actually, application downloaded stations database and I started. It’s easy to use, station list is displayed on the bottom, preview and schedule is also visible. It seems to choose the best quality for your current bandwidth, my current connection is crappy so I got low quality, but checked with better one and was playing medium as well. I’ve also found 4 stations from my country, now I know exactly what is the weather and what is traffic situation back at home ;). I really like the application, try it for free from Ovi store.
This is probably the last time I can post something this year, only few hours left, so have fun on new years eve party and best wishes for next year!

MJ

Featured, News, Reviews »

[20 Dec 2010 | | ]
Travelling with Nokia N900 – data transfer around the world

Nokia N900 has good support for wireless internet connections, WiFi when available and GPRS almost everywhere, but Christmas time makes us travel around the world to visit family and spend time together. So how to use mobile data connection without paying much more for data roaming?
The best solution is to replace your regular SIM card with local for country you’re in and use local data connection with much lower wages. Nevertheless this solution is reasonable if you have possibility to have pre-paid solution with data transfer included, signing aggreement for a year is a bit too much if you’re abroad for few weeks only.
So now for everyone travelling not only for Christmas there is way to find out what do you need to find good offer with data transfer included. There is a wiki page (thanks to Dawid for link) Pay as You Go Sim With Data Wiki where you can find information on which mobile operator you can choose and what exactly is needed and where to get such SIM.
This page is great source of information for everyone, frequent travellers wanting to stay in touch with e-mail and communicators and tourists on vacations for using on-line maps and finding entertainment in place you’re staying.

MJ

Featured, Headline, News »

[28 Nov 2010 | | ]
Finally! Nokia N900 discount in the store!

Something really big is happening in our store, we’re launching discount for Nokia N900, smartphone masterpiece you’ve read so much about! Now, when christmas is less than month away it’s good choice for great gift, maybe for someone you love, maybe just for yourself
Discount is pretty nice, former price of €449 is reduced to €389.00. The only limitation is destination, since it’s limited only to North and South America (including Canada) and Europe (including UK).

You probably already know what N900 is, but let me remind you in short what hardware and software brings with N900. Technologically advanced smartphone based on ARM Cortex A8 processor, 4-band GSM with 3G capabilities, WiFi 802.11b/g, 3.5 inch 800×480 touch screen, 32GB of on-board memory, with microSD slot, GPS receiver, Bluetooth 2.1, 5 megapixel camera and secondary camera for video calls, FM receiver and transmitter. All of this on hardware side. Firmware and software based on Maemo 5 Linux with support for regular calls, SMS, Skype video calls, many instant messangers, mail with good MS Exchange support (better than the one in Evolution), wide variety of applications available for free, fully functional web browser (just as on desktop computers), support for many audio and video formats, extendable via free plugins, 4 virtual desktops for placing contacts, shortcuts, bookmarks and widgets and many more.
Anything else? Well, I have Nokia N900 for like 1 year now, exact 365 days passed 2 weeks ago and I’m really happy with this phone, I wouldn’t change it for anything else currently available. Just read the rest of this blog, you’ll find out.

MJ

Featured, Headline, News »

[26 Nov 2010 | | ]
MeeGo Conference 2010 summary – part 2

Last time I’ve shared my observations from MeeGo Conference related to Maemo and Nokia N900. But judging by the name, this event was aiming to MeeGo platform so let’s see what does it offer for now.
First moments of conference, most of first days sessions were filled with big words and promises of what MeeGo will be capable of. I’m rather sceptical if it comes to beliving in advertisment. Nevertheless I belive in at least few other things: Open Source, cooperation and resources. MeeGo is project started by joined forces of Nokia, big player of mobile phone market, and Intel, one of electronics market leaders. During first day of the conference Ben Bar-Haim (AMD, corporate vice president, software development) announced that another big player another big and well known company, AMD, will join MeeGo with it’s resources. Including huge possibilities lying in open source, such cooperation may result in creation of really good platform for mobile devices.
Big words and marketing is one thing, but what exactly is MeeGo apart from being Maemo 5 successor? It’s a lot more, since Maemo 5 is for mobile phones (if we can still call N900 phone, not mobile computer with GSM modem and phone application as some say) and MeeGo aims to many more electronic devices: phones, netbooks, tablets, home entertainment systems, even IVI (in-vehicle infotainment) solutions. MeeGo aims to provide open source operating system for every electronic device we use every day and improve connectivity between this devices. Common core system and variety of user interfaces and additional technologies available for Linux have already shown that it’s possible to run MeeGo 1.1 at least on ARM-based smartphones or Intel-based netbooks and IVI appliances. I think AMD won’t stay behind for long and next MeeGo release will include their products.
So indeed MeeGo has great potential, but still MeeGo Conference was mainly oriented on marketing and gathering more people to cooperate. This area already shows some successes, since among over 1000 people attending the conference I’ve met lot of representatives of big open source projects (for example KDE developers who have mistaken me with someone else …

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[21 Nov 2010 | | ]
MeeGo Conference 2010 summary – part 1

I’m back from MeeGo Conference 2010 in Dublin, found out few things so I can share with you. Let’s start with position of Nokia N900 in MeeGo world.
As I’ve already mentioned Nokia N900 won’t move from Maemo 5 to MeeGo, official statement is that N900 is base for development for ARM-based devices, but it’s not meant to be available with MeeGo for end users. There is possibility that this modification will be made by community, not internally by Nokia. Fair enough for me if such thing is considered anyway.
Apart from all of commotion around new devices and including MeeGo in many different appliances I’ve noticed that N900 takes some attention. I’ve found Comarch’s stand with presentation of tools and applications for many platforms, including N900 – TADEK (Test Automation in a Distributed Environment) that is rather not so interesting for end user, and Drafter (kind of shared, virtual whiteboard for live conferencing) shown on two N900 devices connected to one WiFi network. I liked this live drawing and sharing, it looks promising and I see many uses, not only in business for conferencing from anywhere, but also for regular, everyday, normal people to share thoughts with friends with something more than words.
I’ve also visited some sessions related to mobile Linux in general, not only MeeGo itself. One of the sessions touched our common problem with battery life and energy saving but in very technical way. If to believe in what was said (and if I got all of the things correctly, I’m regular developer, not some Linux kernel expert ) power saving may be done on few levels in Linux and it should initially be done by developers, low level optimization in system kernel and few additional tricks in applications. Since I think that kernel level tweaks are mostly well used I think that everything that remains lies in hands of application developers.
While most of the conference events were focused on what’s about to come with MeeGo, the N900 was still present almost everywhere and still gathers quite a lot of interest. New possibilities with …

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[16 Nov 2010 | | ]
MeeGo Conference 2010 – quick flash from MeeGo on N900 session

Finally, MeeGo Conference 2010, the event to reveal some of mysteries behind MeeGo and running it on N900.
Actually the main reason for running MeeGo on N900 is possibility to develop the platform, port it to ARM architecture and subsequently develop applications. Setting up working MeeGo on N900 takes quite some people, apart from management (it’s so obvious ) the people to maintain every single part of the system (multimedia, wireless modem, etc.) and finally integration and packaging. All of this people are working all around the world to make MeeGo alive on N900.
As we know major MeeGo releases occured during May (MeeGo Core 1.0) and October (UX for N900). Currently MeeGo 1.1 hardware adaptation is mostly working, you can call and receive calls, text message, connect via WLAN, use browser or multimedia playback. But the most vital part for this image is running applications directly from SDK.
Installing MeeGo on N900 takes around 585MB download and at least 2GB microSD card, unfortunately it’s still working at your own risk. UI seems to be working pretty nicely, with automatic rotation (that’s new from Maemo 5 point of view), standard applications, working phone UI, but that’s something we’ve already seen.
The future of MeeGo on N900 is mostly related to future plans for the platform, which mainly means making reference implementation for OMAP3 handsets. N900 can be good hardware base for demos, which on the other hand implicates that someone wants to show us MeeGo based phone, but nothing new, so we need a bit more time to see the N900 successor
And finally, question that we want to know answer to, we know all of the stuff about development images, but what with end users? Currently end users would probably be supported by community, not by Nokia internally. Luckily we have at least this.
If you have any questions I can try to ask directly, just post in comments, so ’till the next post from the MeeGo Conference 2010.

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[13 Nov 2010 | | ]
MeeGo status few days before MeeGo Conference

Few days ago Dave Neary, guy involved in MeeGo development, made quite extensive review of current MeeGo status, inside the project and outside on market. For full article read The MeeGo Progress Report, I will shorten to the most vital parts.
All of the commotion around Symbian (that was almost closed down recently and seems to be dying slowly) and MeeGo (still under heavy development) leaded to announcement that Nokia will choose the latter as main system for high-end mobiles. This is good news for MeeGo after recent changes in Nokia management, new CEO (formerly in high ranked at Microsoft) and employment reduction.
On the other hand cooperation between Nokia and Intel is still far from monolithic. Intel bases on it’s GTK+ solutions, while Nokia insists on Qt. There is right on both sides, investing time, money and work in technology and abandoning it later doesn’t seem the best solution for big company. This part is a bit tricky for Nokia and Intel, while Apple released iPhone with it’s iOS quite a while ago, iPad quite recently, in the mean time Google answered with coherent Android platform, MeeGo may meet some difficulties conquering mobile market.
Apart from all of difficulties and doubts, MeeGo looks quite good as for few months old, open source project. Lot of experienced developers are involved, works is going forward every day, even I have my own share. In the next few days I hope some of the secrets will be revealed during MeeGo Conference 2010 in Dublin, I will be there and I will surely share my observations and every news I can reach. Let’s stay in touch, something interesting may come up

MJ

Maemo 5, News, Software »

[19 Oct 2010 | | ]

As the Nokia N900 and Maemo 5 project advances, users don’t sleep. Sometimes we should have a closer look on what more advanced users are wodking on, recently I ran into few interesting articles about customization and MeeGo running on N900.
User interface customization is what I really like, that’s why when I’ve found that someone tries to go a bit further than themes allows to I was pretty amused. THP worked a bit on task swither (a.k.a. dashboard) and managed to remodel it, make windows bigger, vertically aligned on scrollable area. I think it would be nice to have choice of dashboard look, I find this idea very amusing, just have a look at the video:

Apart from Maemo 5 on N900 I’ve found a video with MeeGo interface running on N900 with hardware acceleration. Article about that was written by the same guy, I think his ideas and experiments may amaze us few more times. I wish I had this much time and energy to experiment by myself. Maybe some day you will see some custom modifications from me


MJ

Headline, News »

[8 Oct 2010 | | ]
Flashback from Nokia World 2010

Long awaited Nokia World 2010 finally happened in London some time ago. Nokia fans expected a lot since there were a lot of unconfirmed news from Nokia, like Nokia N8 multimedia smartphone release info, our (I hope) most awaited succesor of N900, Nokia N9 or Nokia N98, another member of N-series. How did Nokia meet these expectations? Lets have a bit of review.

First of all, Nokia indirectly confirmed that Qt framework will be most significang for Nokia application developers. The use case (in sense of development) still doesn’t touch specific extensions like MeeGo Touch library, but still such competition as Nokia 2010 Hackathon gives quite clear view on what Nokia is about to do in this area.
Nokia N8, long awaited, widely advertised multimedia device was announced in different area. Nokia executives are convinced that Symbian is still most succesfull mobile OS, from developer point of view it’s a bit different, but for now just let it be. Just have a look at ‘official’ unboxing videos with presenter customized for everyone, like hot Suzy, nice and specific Brenda or geek-type Ryan. Currently preordered Nokia N8 is already being shipped to customers, so I think we will have real-life experience and user feedback really soon.
Unfortunately we still don’t know how N900 successor will look like or what hardware will it have inside, nevertheless we can still have hope that all of this MeeGo stuff is not only about netbooks. First mobile phone with MeeGo on board is announced to be released next year. We can expect great improvement in hardware and pretty nice user interface, but hard facts are still missing, everything we can actually rely on lies in leaks and gossips.
And as for me, I was away for some time, but now I’m getting back to partially normal life, so I’ll try to keep you informed about what happens around our favourite piece of hardware and I will share my findings from last few weeks.

MJ (back from sick-leave)

Headline, News »

[6 Oct 2010 | | ]
Nokia N900 running emulated SNES controlled a with PS3 controller

Users get tried of holding the Nokia N900 while playing games so I have come up with a solution and it involves a PS3 controller.You can now use your PS3 controller with a N900 device to play games. The only problem is that you have to have a controller. It’s actually life made easy.
Unfortunately this is only available with the N900 and not any other device as to my knowledge.

Users thought that the N900 was useless but when it comes to anything related to gaming, it revealed its true identity. I have seen plenty of nostalgic games ported over to the Maemo powered device, but for its latest trick, it can allow you to play SNES games right on the device while using a PS3 sixaxis controller. Tomasz Sterna has recompiled the kernel to add joystick and mouse support, which he then pieced enough code to make the N900 one portable SNES console that you can bring just about anywhere. After turning on Bluetooth, you’re able to connect a PS3 sixaxis gaming controller to be used with an emulator – allowing you to start getting settled playing games.

Applications, Featured, News, Software »

[2 Aug 2010 | | ]
News from Maemo world – Flash tweaks, protection, updates

Maemo world, as long as N900 develops in many places, with many users writing, commenting and posting. Also all of you – readers take a part in society motion every day.
Flash version – how come does it matter?

Recently I’ve found pretty good analysis of Flash versioning and small inconsistency that makes Flash plugin vulnerable to version cheating. That’s why I feel more comfortable with testing Tweak Flash plugin version application, which may be helpful for everyone that wish to have Flash 10 enabled on N900.
Damage protection – microUSB port
Some poeople reported that microUSB port in N900 just fell out. Well, practically it shouldn’t just fall out, the reason is that in comparison to soldering technique used, the charger plug is big enough to act as lever and give moment of force big enough… but without physical babbling, you need to be careful when using charger and USB cable. Nokia N900 may be marvellous in many ways but still it’s NOT rugged phone for military and we should handle it with care. So please be careful!
Prepare for application updates
Updates are coming in many applications, sometimes there are problems with updating some of them. If you’ve experienced such situation there is a way I’ve found and use recently.

Check if you really use the application, if not, just remove it. If there is a problem with removing, place a comment in Q&A section, I’ll find a solution.
If you still need the application I prefer method remove-clean-install, so:

uninstall the application (if there is a problem check point 1.)
open console, gain root access and run apt-get autoremove command
install application again and enjoy

I hope this will help you now or in the future. If you have any questions you can always ask by commenting

MJ
Win Solar Charger by posting on our Nokia N900 forum