Tag Archive | "meego"

Can Nokia Earnestly Sell the N9 When They’ve Publicly Abandoned the OS?

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nokia n9By now you’ve certainly caught wind of Nokia’s N9, their first, and only, Meego handset.

I want to be excited as everyone else is about the phone, after all, it looks great and Nokia has never disappointed me in the hardware department. However, the phone is running Meego, an OS that Nokia has publicly dropped in favor of Windows Phone 7 a few months back.

If this was happening prior to the app store movement, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Today, however, phones and their operating systems live and die not only by continuous first-party support, but by third-party developer backing as well.

Without a critical mass of applications, a new smartphone OS is destined to fail in the face of contemporary operating systems. What message is Nokia sending if it has already abandoned the OS in favor of another?

As a consumer, the message it sends to me is “don’t buy this phone!”. No matter how well crafted the hardware is, and even how well the software works from a technical standpoint, I wouldn’t invest my money and time (moving all of my music/contacts/life/etc.) into a platform that I know won’t be seeing long-term support from the company that is responsible for it.

Interestingly though, and the only reason I believe that Nokia is going ahead with a Meego N9, is that Nokia isn’t entirely responsible for it. Meego is a merger of Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo efforts. Meego exists as its own entity, and will live on through Intel and the open-source community even if Nokia has dropped it.

This means that it’s possible that the Meego-running N9 will still see decent application development, and perhaps even long term support for the OS from the Meego community, though I doubt that it’ll be at a level necessary to reach critical app-mass; just take a look at Maemo, a predecessor of Meego, and you’ll find that the OS never even came close to taking off (into the mainstream realm, that is).

Sadder still is the fact that Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, says that Nokia is dropping Meego regardless of how well the N9 sells, according to an interview with a Finnish newspaper (via Engadget).

If I was in the market for a new phone, I would stay away from the N9 thanks to Nokia’s resolute desire to abandon Meego.

Engadget’s Vlad Savov has an interesting piece on the N9 and Nokia’s decision to abandon Meego, and one sentence in particularl nicely sums up my feelings:

If Nokia isn’t fully invested in MeeGo and Qt, why should you be?

What say you, dear readers? Is there anything that could convince you to buy a phone with an OS that you know won’t see long-term first-party support, and likely won’t hit that ever important critical mass of apps and third-party developer traction?

Nokia’s N950 Developer Phone is More Appealing To Me Than the Recently Announced N9, Too Bad Consumers Will Never See It

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n950Over the last few days, the internet has been abuzz over Nokia’s first (and only?) Meego phone, the N9. However, more appealing to me is their recently uncovered developer phone, the N950, which is very similar in design to the N9 except it has a cool flip-out QWERTY keyboard. The real shame is the fact that the N950 isn’t designed to be sold to the public, instead, it will be released to developers as testing hardware, prior to the release of the N9.

The N950’s keyboard-flipping mechanism is extremely similar to several other phones that use the form factor, such as the HTC G2 and the Sidekick 4G. Mobilenet.cz (via Engadget) has a hands-on video of the N950:

The N950 shares most of the internals with the N9 with a few changes here and there (the most significant being that the N9 uses a nicer AMOLED screen). Here’s what we can expect from the phone:

  • MeeGO 1.2 Harmattan OS
  • 4” capacitive TFT LCD screen @ 854×480
  • TI OMAP 3630 (ARM Cortex A8) CPU @ 1GHz
  • PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • 1GB of RAM
  • Possibly 16GB or 64GB of built-in memory (unconfirmed)
  • 8MP rear camera with 720p HD recording
  • front-facing cam (unconfirmed MP)
  • 4-row QWERTY keyboard
  • WiFi b/g/n & Bluetooth 2.1
  • GPS
  • Sensors: dual-mic, accelerometer, light sensor, magnetometer (compass), proximity sensor
  • Micro-SIM slot (interesting)
  • Aluminum body, around 135g
  • 1320mAh battery

I’ve been waiting for Nokia’s N series of Internet Tablets to break into the mainstream one of these days, but time and time again I’m disappointed with what I find. I owned an N810 back in the day, which was just one iteration prior to when Nokia would begin to cross it’s N-series MIDs (which they called Internet Tablets) over into the phone realm. First was the N700, then the N800, then the N810. All of these devices ran an open-source Linux-based OS called Maemo. With the release of the N900, which we revived back in January of 2010, Nokia merged their Internet Tablets with phones, and the result was the phone-capable N900 running Maemo 5. Unfortunately, both the N810 and N900 shared the same problem – beautiful hardware, but weak software that wasn’t ready for primetime. Every once and a while thoughts of the N810 and N900 pop into my head and make me happy. They were gorgeous devices. Then they make me sad as I come to the realization that they never took off.

Now along comes the N950 running Meego Harmattan, a merger of Maemo and Intel’s Moblin, and it actually looks pretty good. The only problem is that Nokia decided to drop Meego in favor of Windows Phone 7 several months ago, and the N9/950 is the only device from Nokia that’s ever going to run the Meego OS.

The circumstances surrounding the N950 very similar to what I witnessed with the N810 and N900 except this time Nokia is specifically branding the N950 as a developer phone, something they probably should have done with the prior two devices. What strikes me as extremely odd, and perhaps even stupid, is the fact that Nokia is offering developers a dev device which has a huge difference (they keyboard!) than the phone that they are presumably developing for. The N950 doesn’t require an OSK that takes up much of the screen for text input, while the N9 does…. You’d think that Nokia would want to give developers a phone that at least shares the same input method as the device they are developing for. Seems like turbulent times ahead for Nokia as they attempt to market the N9 with an OS that we already know is dead to the company.

Acer Goes Meego with the Iconia M500 Tablet

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Acer has recently announced the addition of a MeeGo based tablet, the M500 to its Iconia tablet range at Computex 2011.

Judging from the available pictures and videos of the Iconia M500 [tracking page], it bears a striking physical resemblance to it’s Android stable-mate, the A500, and has the same 10.1” 1280×800 resolution screen.

The key difference is that it has a Intel based Moorestown processor under the hood.

There is no information on the M500’s battery life at the moment — I will be interested to how good the battery life will be running MeeGo on a Moorestown processor.  Chippy’s written a interesting article on battery life advantages of MeeGo and Android running on the Moorestown platform that’s a good read.

 

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The M500 offers a MeeGo driven user interface which Acer is calling a ‘snackable UI’.  This is essentially a circular shape launcher widget (pictured above) that can be used to access and operate applications such as a browser or a music player.  What I find unique is that the user touches the screen using five fingers in a circular shape (see picture below) in order to invoke the widget.

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The M500 uses a widget based homepage and the eye candy offering is live widgets meaning that each widget will present its content when activated, allowing the user to view multiple live widgets content at a glance. Some notable widgets that were showcased during the Computex demos were for photo, video, calendar, social network feeds and time.

Acer has yet to announced a firm date for M500’s release and likewise, pricing is not known.  Let’s hope that it will not be too far off the sub $500 mark of the A500.

Intel’s MeeGo AppLab at MWC: Cash, Tools, Products!

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16022011849_2 I’m at Intel’s MeeGo AppLab this morning and just entering the second session where the engineers are giving coding demos. While that’s happening, I have a chance to give an update on what I’ve heard this morning.

Intel has tried hard to prop up MeeGo this week. ‘Nothing changes’ is a phrase I’ve heard a number of times since last Friday morning and with Intel getting aggressive on their statements around Medfield and Moorestown, you get the feeling that it really is business as usual. A large, no, hugely critical part of MeeGo is getting developers on board and to that end, Intel launched the MeeGo series of AppLab events. Today, in Barcelona, over 250 people will attend sessions highlighting the Atom platforms, the MeeGo developer program and the AppUp application channel. Apparently the sessions were well overbooked!

A number of important announcements were made.

  • Free optimisation tools. Intel have a suite of high-end optimisation tools and libraries that can be used to improve the performance. I saw a 2D fractal creation demo this morning which highlighted over double performance. Normally this tool suite is over $1500! Having highlighted this ‘developer barrier’ to Intel last year, I’m pleased that they’ve removed it.
  • Acer (correcting previous error – Asus was not mentioned) developing mobile products on MeeGo. We’ve already seen Lenovo and Fujitsu netbooks running MeeGo bt it sounds like the first tablet will come via Acer. No-one is giving any more information on this so we suspect, based on MeeGo timescales, that it’s a Q2 product start. Source: EWeek and Intel (on-site.)
  • MeeGo 1.2 developer pre-alpha available for download.
  • Prizes! The developers of the first 100 applications accepted through the MeeGo developer program will receive $500. More incentives were announced. (Info here)
  • 250+ EvoPC ExopC [twitter] MeeGo tablets will be given away before the end of the day. (Here’s the first ever unboxing!)
  • Michael Richmond, Atom OS Product Marketing Manager, answered questions and said that “Intel will do what it takes to make this thing float.”

Intel have presented new hardware, new products, OS builds, developer tools and highlighted a lot of investment. This momentum needs to continue, with major product partners, over the next months.

Full disclosure: My trip to MWC was sponsored by Intel. (And please don’t tell them I’m now off for an Nvidia Quad-Core demo!)

Angry Birds Now On Meego (Updated with Video)

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I guess its no surprise right? Angry Birds are everywhere and Meego is not missing out on the action. Video later but for the proof, see the images. It works well. Hey, someone needs to test it!

Update: Video now available below.

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