If there were any fears that Nokia’s upcoming MeeGo devices would have specs in keeping with current S^3 devices, we can all breathe a somewhat collective sigh of relief.
Recent tweets and announcements from the MeeGo conference follow on twitter here minimum specs have been confirmed to be a minimum of 512MB RAM, 600MHz+ Arm V7 or x86 processors (Snapdragon, A4, OMAP,ST U8500 all fall into this category) 512 Mb internal ROM and GSM/HSPA. Unfortunately for those living in certain regions, CDMA is looking unlikely to be supported until version 1.3. In addition, the official releases for 1.1 and 1.2 DO NOT include support for LTE (bummer 😦 ).
Update: MeeGo 1.3 is looking at an October 2011 release, soooooooooooooooo far away
I’ll try to keep you all posted on anything coming out of the conference.
MeeGo 1.2 is expected to be released in April 2011 in keeping with the 6 month cadence between release versions. Should be noted yet again that these releases are not directed towards the end-user.
Action items for MeeGo 1.2 include increased QML use in applications, an integrated backup-restore mechanism, Office document viewers integrated with OS, better package managers and security features.
NB, Office viewers are currently being done by separate developers, see KOffice for MeeGo tablet.
Twitter is reporting that screen res requirements haven’t been decided upon. Of big importance this bit. Aspect ratios matter a lot when writing apps (at least for beginners 🙂 ) careful consideration should be given to the available chipsets, display technology and touchscreen controllers. The latter being very very important for running touch-controlled interfaces. Terrible idea to match 720p or XGA screens with sub XGA controllers. VERY VERY bad.
You may have seen MeeGo on a netbook. The interface looked pretty similar to Intel’s Moblin for netbooks.
As Engadget discovered on a 10-inch Moorestown Quanta Redvale tablet, the MeeGo tablet UI looks completely different.
“To say we’re impressed with the “pre-alpha” version of the software is a huge understatement.”
This tablet is powered by 1.5GHz Moorestown chip, and according to engadget, plays 720p videos smoothly. That’s a feat some netbooks right now find difficult.
What’s even better is that there are several MeeGo netbooks/tablets coming soon, not just this.
We’ll update this post with the video once Engadget unprivates/finishes uploading their video.
MeeGo UI Video Demo
Head over to engadget for the video demo. It’s embedded in their player. I’ll update with a youtube version when it appears.
- 720p plays smoothly, and apparently even supports up to 1080p
- No lag
- Pinch and zooming/rotating absolutely smooth
- Battery life at 6h?
Alternative vid by stevechippy – longer than engadget’s vid.
Check out the homescreen view. It’s a blast from the past, taken in 1970 doncha know?
It seems we have notifications (calendar/messages), time, a supposedly apple patented slide up to unlock and battery indicator. Let’s hope for good things on the battery life side. I’m looking for at least 7h on the trot with quite heavy usage.
App/Menu view has traditional grid but with uniform icons. I hope Nokia adopt this.
I’m not too concerned about the design of MeeGo tablets since the tablets are basically just a shell for MeeGo. What’s really important is how MeeGo itself looks.
Having said that, what on earth is going on in the profile side view? No wonder the photos look like the tablet is floating. It hope that’s not too thick and that future tablets are completely flat all the way through.
Also, for this tablet at least, the screen is resistive. Engadget is quick to point out however that it is very responsive.
Just like the press photo, something new with MeeGo is this panel UI.
As for the MeeGo Smartphone UX, that’s still to be seen (we’ll definitely know it by Nokia World 2010 – it’s apparently not MeeGo 1 yet but just Harmattan/Maemo 6 rebranded)
I’m really looking forward to a Nokia MeeGo tablet. The tablet form factor is one of the best ways to consume data and online entertainment and multimedia. There is of course, the iPad, but I don’t want to be locked in that ecosystem.
On Thursday (Day Two of Open Mobile Summit) thanks to Nokia and WOMWorldNokia, Iain, Sergejs and I had the privilege of an unscheduled Q&A with Nokia’s EVP, MeeGo Computers: Alberto Torres who had just finished a Keynote Speech on “Transforming Nokia” and a panel on “Platforms Vs Networks”.
Video is below along with a transcript. We weren’t in the best place for sound recording so some things in (parentheses) are those where I’m not sure what’s been said. Feel free to add corrections to transcript in comments.
- MeeGo phone being announced this year
- MeeGo phone will push the boudaries of processing power
- MeeGo phone will be a very high end product
- MeeGo is an opportunity to create something well beyond what others are doing
- MeeGo phone is step 5 of 5 and intended for mass market
- MeeGo phone will be something everyone wants to own
- MeeGo phone will try to satisfy all needs into one plate
- MeeGo phone will be capacitive, more stylish and more beautiful with simpler UI that average users will find as equally compelling as tech leaders.
- MeeGo has potential to be something deeper than typical smartphone
- Maemo apps not directly backwards compatible with MeeGo
- Nokia N8 will be Nokia’s flagship in a few months
- All future flagships will be built on MeeGo
- MeeGo phone will be on Nseries (not rumoured Sseries)
- MeeGo will have higher experience level than Symbian
- Symbian^3 and MeeGo will have certain minimum base level specification to ensure apps created on one device works in another.
- N8 is first step in reclaiming momentum at high end.
- MeeGo is the next step.
Iain: I’ve a question that kinda relates to your talk earlier. You talked a lot about encouraging developers, you feel this is important for expanding Nokia ecosystem -that’s great-you talked a lot about the developing markets. You’re selling millions of devices, but they want services on their devices not just the phone. But what you didn’t talk about is the (gap?). How are you going to encourage developers who are predominantly developing for high end devices in the developed world, how are you going to educate them or enable them to target this massive developing market that you can quickly put devices in the hands of millions of people
Alberto Torres: So two things. First of all we believe we need to encourage those developers that are building for the high end to build for Nokia too. So we are not just tryign to say “Ok the high end guys (control losing me out?)”. We believe that particularly with MeeGo we have a chance to attract top developers in the world. But then I think there’s a couple of aspects interesting for us as well is that one, we are building quite a sort of regional, almost sort of local network to support developers in different places.
Iain: So, my follow up question: Are you supporting development in these local markets:
AT: Absolutely, and I think also at the same time we’re going to create some (event) in places like Silicone Valley, and there’s a lot of people from certain communities; a lot of people from India, a lot of people from Israel, and some of these people also want to develop for the phone market. So we are having first focus on all best developers but then really taking a role for localized focus. Then the third thing is perhaps, beyond regional developers, I think you’ll see even this afternoon, this app wizard. I think the App Wizard is one example to bring essentially who have a website and want to (monitor?) that website without knowing how to program.
Jay: We have some Questions from the community: [@TheMeeGoBlog] Considering work on MeeGo UX has already started, will the MeeGo phone from Nokia be announced this year?
Jay…OK. Nice and short. Fantastic [I expected the line of – we can’t comment on that.]
Sergejs: Is the recent restructuring in Nokia mean that there will be a shift again from services and software back to the devices?
AT: Not necessarily. I think what we are, what was done already with the solutions unit that was created eight months ago is now taking the next step to really recognize that the majority of the value that we’ll provide with services is going to be delivered through our devices. So they have to be working together very closely. And I thin kthere’s going to be more focus into integrating the devices and services to be more similar
S: Is there gong to be an increase in numbers of high end devices..
S:..Like now I only see Nokia release more and more mid tier Symbian smartphones to developed markets. Is there going to be like a shift to the higher end again?
AT: Absolutely, without a doubt. We recognize that we have a lost some momentum in the high end. It’s not necessarily about the number of devices but just getting those devices to become as good as selling in very competitive volume, so that’s very much the focus. I think the N8 is the first step and MeeGo in my mind is the next step.
I: I have a question that leads on from that. Going back to something you said in your presentation where you mentioned constraining the device roadmap to reduce fragmentation. Does that mean it’s going to be artificially imposed as it were (sling?) on the limit to ensure that developers aren’t coding for functionality that’s only in a subset of hteir handsets or like the wiindows phone approach where they’ve said there’s this minimum hardware specs in windows phone. Are we going to see a minimum baseline..
AT: Absolutely, I think essentially what’s going to happen. If you think about Symbian today, the strength of Symbian has been the ability to create so many different variations but from a developer perspective this is a bit too much, but then you have different screen sizes, some of them have certain buttons some have other buttons, so it’s quite difficult to write an application that works in more than one or two devices. So I think what we’re doing already with Symbian^3 is all the devices that are going after N8 are essentially going to have a minimum configuration…
I:…Nice big nHD screen..
AT: ..exactly, the screen is going to be within a certain limit so you can scale it rapidly so you won’t have to rewrite everything, The capability, the memory is going to have certain limits. I think that’s going to be exactly the same as MeeGo The limit that we will have – so we will set the experience level higher on MeeGo – it’s the same approach with Symbian.
I: So would you restrict, so from a personal view, I like Nokia phones because of the high technology in them now, excellent cameras, things like this, N95 for example – successful as it’s so much better than anything else. Is there going to be an artificially high limit, an artificial sling on the limit on the limit of technology on the devices because you don’t want devices that were so vastly different from one another…So to give a hypothetical example. Arm are currently trialling a dual processor cortex chip right?
I: So twice as powerful as N900..if you’re doing a phone like that now and someone developing something that would run on that but wouldn’t run on anything else because it doesn’t have the power, are you going to be artificially capping…
AT: No, no, not at all. Absolutely not. I think we need to keep at the forefront of innovation. Particularly with MeeGo we are going to be pushing the envelope for processing power. But at the same time, it’s just a matter of finding the right balance. You don’t want to introduce at the same time 8 devices and all of them so many small differences that make it very difficult to develop applications. But at the same time you have to evolve. Every time you risk capabilities you leave something behind.
J: Will MeeGo be on Nseries or on a rumoured other series [Sseries]
AT: Yes. Today we have N900 which is Maemo Nseries..
J: Also, when people think of high end devices a lot of the trend now has not been to think of Nokia. Will MeeGo change that so that when they think of high end smartphones….
AT: Absolutely, I think Symbian^3 is already a big step to change that. But I think MeeGo in my mind is the opportunity to really put something out there that is well beyond what others are doing.
I: Actually it just made me think of another related question, because currently, Adobe and Apple are having this big fight about Flash and Adobe are saying we can have Flash on phones. You can have Flash on a N900, why aren’t Adobe shouting about the N900 on your behalf
AT: That’s a good point, that’s a very good point. I know those guys so I’ll make that point to them…
I: There’s a lot of publicity
J: Will MeeGo claim the high end for Nokia, because at the moment Symbian is the one thatclaiming the high end, Symbian (phone) is the one that’s regarded as the flagship, e.g. N97 is called the flagship even though N900 has more power. Will the flagship now when MeeGo phone is released, will the flagship title be given to the MeeGo phone
AT: The intent is to build the flagship product on MeeGo. But I mean of course in the mean time we have a lot of really good products coming out on Symbian. And certainly the N8 will be our flagship in the next few months. But I think it’s very much clear that MeeGo has the potential of creating something that’s deeper than you find on a typical smartphone.
S: Is that going to be aknowledged though as flagship or is it going to be a true all in one solution of everything in combination of everything that’s best in Nokia
AT: Absolutely, I think it’s important – I try to make a point that this will be a very high end product or will be at a high end position but it’s not going to be..the N900 today I think it’s a relatively niche product for technology leaders The intent is not to do just that. We want to create a product that everybody will want to own. And it’s really sort of satisfying all those needs in one plate.
I: Sorry – I just have a brief follow up question to this: So does this mean we’re going to see Eseries devices running MeeGo?
at: We don’t have..we’ll have to see how it goes. It’s not really, for the moment on the enterprise side, particularly with collaboration with Microsoft, there’s really good plans for Symbian for easier devices. B ut you know, of course, who knows,
J: Last year at Nokia World, the N900 was said to be step 4 out of step p5 in the path to..
J:…Is the MeeGo phone going to be finally step 5 of 5.
AT: Yes. MeeGo one, I mean we’re not going to do another separate step.
J: So this is the final one ready for the mass market.
S: I’ve got a question for Maemo, so how will Nokia handle the (transition) of existing Maemo community to that of MeeGo.
AT: I think it’s happening as we speak. We are very much, there’s already quite some overlap in Maemo Community, Mobilin community. I think their architechtures are very similar. I think it would be natural for the community to move to MeeGo where there’s a lot more opportunities there.
S: Is the Maemo apps going to be backwards compatible with MeeGo.
AT: Not necessarily. Our simple answer is no. We might have some applications that could be transfered but we’re not looking at that capability.
S: It will need additional work from developers for it to work.
AT: Exactly, and we’re not going to keep the comparability.
S: So I have this question: What is your phone.
AT: At the moment I have two actually. I have a N900 and E72. And I’m also trialling a N8.
S. So maybe you won’t be able to talk about N8, but maybe you can talk about what you like and dislike about Nokia N900.
AT: I think that the N900- I’m going to have to go after this one – what I really like about the N900 is so many things. I think the multitasking as an element to the UI is very powerful. I think the browsing experience is excellent. I think the speed that it works is very good. I think there are some things I don’t like so much. The resistive screen, the touch side is not as good as it needs to be. Obviously it will be better in MeeGo. The interface is good but you can get lost occasionally on that. And I think again, it was really developed for technology leaders. We are going to make it (MeeGo) just a touch simpler so your average consumer can find it equally compelling. That has to be the key thing. And then the other bit are two things. Make it more stylish and more beautiful.
About a month ago, I wrote a post about firmware update wishlist for the N900. Last week, we had 2 firmware updates, a mini one and a big one. I’ll combine the observations of both in this post. The new firmware updates seems to have solved a few items on that list including:
2. Portrait mode:
– not complete throughout the UI but we now have portrait mode in Web Browser. It works well enough.
- Fast rotation
- Some web pages recognize the smaller width and refit accordingly
- Text automatically squeeze to portrait when double tapped (whilst in portrait)
- However, most web functions don’t work in portrait – you can only open links.
With S60 if you have several apps installed, you might not know there’s a newer updated version until you try out that application again (and that’s if you’re lucky).
Today, the N900 gave me a notification saying a few applications I had previously installed had some updates. I continued and the N900 proceeded to install all applicable updates. [Is this because I added a new “Application Catalogue” or have I inadvertently installed an app-update indicator?)
Alternatively, you can just go to “App Manager” and manually search “Update” – which is still better than the S60 option.
[Update: Be warned, some apps from this catalogue may harm your N900]
As a N900 user, you might be aware that although Ovi isn’t yet officially ready for the N900, you can still get buckets of apps via the app manager.
With the app manager you can download lists of applications from predefined “Application Catalogues”. (If you haven’t already, make sure all preloaded catalogues aren’t set to “disabled”.)
If you’re new to the platform, you might not know that you can add application catalogues to the N900. A great one to try is
“Maemo.org extras testing“.
To create a new catalogue go to:
- App Manager
- Hit settings, i.e. the bar that says “Application manager”
- Click “Application catalogues”
- Click “New”
- Enter in details as shown in screenshots below.
- Catalogue Name: maemo.org extras testing
- Web Address: http://repository.maemo.org/extras-testing
- Distribution: fremantle
- Components: free non-free
You’ll get access to a bunch more apps than what’s available by standard ( – I think I must have tried out at least 20 in an hour), and I think this catalogue gets updated more frequently.
For PR1.2 firmware:
Application manager --> Application catalogs --> New Catalog name: maemo.org Web address: http://repository.maemo.org/extras/ Distribution: fremantle-1.2 Components: free non-free BEFORE PR1.2 firmware
Application manager --> Application catalogs --> New Catalog name: maemo.org Web address: http://repository.maemo.org/extras/ Distribution: fremantle Components: free non-free
[There’s also “Red Pill” mode for some more settings and packages, but if what’s said above is new to you, you most definitely will not need to check that out. It isn’t even intended for majority of developers or power users.]
This is a quick 4 minute video to show the game “Super Tux” on the Nokia N900.
This game uses the N900’s QWERTY keyboard, with arrows for navigation and predefined letters for jump/power/duck.
Now, the N900 doesn’t have a D-pad like the N97, but you can change the controls so you can still have your “D-pad” on the left and other action buttons on the right, like most traditional gamepad controllers.
Some might prefer to use the arrow-buttons on the right others might want to have a reconfigurable d-pad going on in the left. I’m in the latter, and I’m glad Super Tux gives you the option (which I hope would become standard in future games using the keyboard/arrow buttons)
And in general, Super Tux is a fun game that you can download really easily and for free from the App Manager in the N900.
In terms of gaming prowess, the only game at the moment[in the catalogue] to demonstrate what the N900 is capable of is Bounce Evolution.