Tag Archive | "meego"

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

Tags: , ,


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

Tags: , ,


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

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


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.

 

image

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.

image

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!

Tags: , ,


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)

Tags: , ,


image

image

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.

https://www.umpcportal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/wpid-14022011772_2.jpg

Intel launches MeeGo Tablet User Experience – Hands-On and Info.

Tags: , , , , ,


Remember that cool-looking tablet user experience we saw back at Computex?, well it’s back and it’s official. It’s now the official Tablet User Experience for MeeGo.

We’ve had a close look at the demonstration, seen below on an ExpoPC, and talked to Intel’s Michael Richmod, the marketing manager for this product. Developers attending the Applab this week at MWC are going to get a pre-configured Meego tablet to walk away with and the Meego image, built with the latest 1.2 beta, will be available for download later this week.

panels_blackbg Chat2

Intel have completely re-written the ‘panels’ user interface in QML (Qt Meta-Object Language) that now enables Intels customers (remember this isn’t an end-user product) to customise the UI. Intel tell us that this enables them make customisations and, by having a baseline to work from, to shorten their time-to-market figures. Note that QML also enables 3D acceleration in the UI.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a deck of panels in a tablet UI (cough*webos*cough) but remember, these panels are really apps in their own right rather than representations of running software. Each panel flips to offer customisations, a nice feature. It would be great to see each running represented as a panel and we hope, really hope, that Intel and the MeeGo teams have made it easy for developers to create new panels. UI customisations will be difficult without a range of panels to choose from.

There’s no filesytem exposed in the UI but the UI does retain certain desktop features like ‘right-click’ which is implemented as tap-and-hold through the MeeGo applications suite. Also missing is a centralised notifications system although there could be a panel for that!

The MeeGo build and user experience is currently only for the ExoPC hardware (also seen used in other manufacturers devices, WeTab included) but the Lenovo S10-3T will be supported soon. Intel wouldn’t comment on Moorestown and Oaktrail target products – possibly because there aren’t any that are officially available yet! We hope that problem sorts itself this week because the MeeGo stack badly needs some sexy hardware. Take what HP did this week as an example of an OS, dev tools and products being presented as one bundle.

As for apps, Intel have chosen the Chromium open-source browser rather than the Firefox Mobile option that has been talked about for the handheld user experience. Although Intel partners can choose other options, we don’t expect that to change (although an official Chrome build would be nice.) You’ll also find an email  client, calendar, video player with open source codecs, audio player, social network subsystem, sharing subsystem, image viewer, instant messenger  and the configurations pane. We didn’t spot AppUp or any other way to attach to Linux repositories although do remember that this is Linux to the LSB standard.

Intel are welcoming feedback on this build and do plan to turn around iterations based on that feedback. The Intel Atom Developer Program is the forum for that.

Al in all we think a lot of people are going to be excited about this. The response we had on the original panel demos at Computex was overwhelmingly positive. We’ve got reservations about the notifications system, and would have liked to see multitouch support, easier app switching, some more advanced demo hardware, Appup, third party applications [breath…] and we have ongoing questions about QML, the Nokia owned product that slipped from it’s mainstream positioning last week. Is it enough to beat WebOS and Honeycomb? With this full-fat Linux stack leaning a bit more to traditional computing architecture and with Oaktrail and Moorestown products coming soon, there’s definitely an opportunity here for a fully productive operating system with a quality touchscreen-UI. We’re trying to think of another 7-10” tablet-focused operating system that offers a full desktop browser and the opportunity to span consumption and productivity scenarios. We can’t!

Stay tuned as we get briefed on products and plans today.

Intel just launched Meego Tablet UI

Tags: , ,


image

image

We’ve turned up 30 minutes before the Intellect press event and there are paper copies of a press release on the table. There’s a few devices hanging round too. Meego Table User Experience is here. “Featuring an intuitive object-oriented interface with panels to display content and contacts.” We will bring you more soon.

More Meego Later

Tags: ,


image

image

This is something we might see at a press event, 1230 today. Meego smartphone user experience. If we’re lucky it will be a Medfield platform demonstrator. Taking a look at the tablet user interface there they appear to have retained the panels that we saw in Computex. That’s good news because it received a lot of praise. More later.

Interview – Peter Biddle, GM of Intel’s AppUp.

Tags: , , , , ,


appup In this interview I made yesterday I ask Peter Biddle, General Manager of Intels AppUp application store project about the progress of AppUp so far, we talk about AppUp on MeeGo (which isn’t being launched this week) and why developers might want to move to MeeGo as a platform. There’s information on the process of converting apps from the Windows to the MeeGo base and Peter tells us that they are looking at other types of content for the AppUp channel.

Stay tuned for news coming from Intels midday event today. Rene James who heads up all of Intels software activities, will be presenting at 1230

MeeGo, Qt and Nokia – Feb 11th 2011

Tags: , , , , , ,


Today’s announcements by Nokia (there are many to sort through) have shocked a lot of people. The major focus here is that Nokia will now use Microsoft (Windows Phone 7) as their primary platform for smartphones. I want to emphasise that this is a revenue generating strategy. It doesn’t include disruptive computing devices which indicates the removal of risk elements within Nokias strategy.  Symbian gets turned into a ‘franchise’ platform (cheap, stable and, probably, with less focus on corporate support.) Important for the financials is that R&D spend drops. Symbian –related spend drops away completely. MeeGo will get hit very hard here too. Whatever way you look at it, near-term investment in MeeGo from Nokia will drop.

This slide says it all.meegorandd

The message is clear. MeeGo isn’t ready to be used for a smartphone platform in Nokias portfolio. Perhaps if Nokia had continued with Maemo, it would be ready now? Other potential partners in the MeeGo ecosystem will take note of the money spent on R&D by Nokia during this partnership and will look to see what Nokia develop over the next 12 months. Adding to the financial hit, this knocks confidence levels in MeeGo.

MeeGo remains in Nokias strategy but the message we see is that it will be used to experiment with the next generation of disruptive products. Open-source is gone from Nokia’s revenue-generating strategy. We’ve heard nothing about an expansion into tablets, smart-books or other non-phone devices so clearly, this indicates that either Nokia don’t want the financial markets to speculate about this or that they really don’t have a strategy at all here. Nokia have re-affirmed their commitment to delivering a Meego ‘Device’ this year and we suspect that this is an Intel-related commitment for a tablet in the 5-7” range to match focus on mobility, clear separation from WP7 devices and to match Intel’s Moorestown platform design limitations. Other MeeGo development work including chipset and industrial design (wait for it, this bit will hurt MeeGo fans) will be ‘repurposed’ in Windows phones.

Where does that leave MeeGo?

The Linux Foundation own the MeeGo brand, take care of the contributions and offer it out as an open-source solution. That hasn’t changed. Linaro, the ARM-focused organisation that can assist ARM product designers to match MeeGo to specific ARM-based platforms is still there. Nokia are still contributing. Intel are still contributing. Intel are still building platforms and services for MeeGo. MeeGo remains one of the best cross-product solutions based on Linux and is the only solution that includes dedicated hardware, development environment and (if AppUp for MeeGo launches at MWC as we expect) applications store. It is still the ‘complete stack’ solution I mentioned last week. What does happen is that Nokia now can’t be relied on as someone that will put a strong brand on a range of MeeGo products. Intel lost a launch partner.

Where does that leave Qt?

Qt will not be used on Windows Phone 7 devices. Without a doubt it waters down the proposition of developing for Qt and as a result, for MeeGo. Todays announcements reduces the potential of Qt to attract developers. On the plus-side, it probably removes OVI as a competing application store leaving Intel to focus on AppUp as the primary application store for MeeGo. A lack of direction for Qt is probably the most significant issue for MeeGo now.

Intel “remain committed “

We asked Intel for a statement and we got this.

While we are disappointed with Nokia’s decision, Intel is not blinking on MeeGo. We remain committed and welcome Nokia’s continued contribution to MeeGo open source.

Our strategy has always been to provide choice when it comes to operating systems. MeeGo is one of those choices. We support a port of choice strategy that includes Windows, Android, and MeeGo. This is not changing.

MeeGo stability.

Right now, Intel need to secure some significant product partners for MeeGo, Moorestown and Medfield and to shore-up the development ecosystem by pulling together partners that will also use Qt. Qt is now the burning platform which means AppUp on MeeGo is at risk too.

MWC starts in just a few days and we expect this to be a huge software event for Intel. MeeGo, Appup, IADP, AppLabs and other activities are being showcased. Intel, more than ever, need to use MWC to announce partners.

Stay tuned to Carrypad and we continue to follow this important story over the next week.

Linpus to Showcase MeeGo-Based Tablet Solution at MWC. Our Sneak Peek Video Now!

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Linpus, a company that has been working on Linux distributions for netbooks for a number of years under their ‘Linpus Lite’ brand have been invited to MWC to demonstrate their current offering in the MeeGo and Qt booths. The solution is targeted at manufacturers of netbooks and tablets based on MeeGo. Like MeeGo, the Linpus solution will be a ‘base’ on which to build on through contractual work by Linpus. We’ve seen a tablet UI before but this is more than that.

Our predictions for Intel and MeeGo activities at MWC are detailed here.

We saw a glimpse of the Linpus product in our travels through the MeeGo Summit last November but I was lucky enough to be given a preview version of Linpus Lite Multi-Touch Edition for testing and feedback here in the Carrypad studio this week.

Unfortunately, the target device, a Lenovo S10-3T is out of the studio right now so I couldn’t get everything up and working well enough for a full video demo but I did boot it on the Tegatech Tega V2 tablet where I was able to test the UI and apps, a key part of the Linpus solution.

Linpus MeeGo Tablet (2).jpg Linpus MeeGo Tablet

Click through for gallery.

Note that this is a presentation suite rather than a full, polished OS but it gives you an idea of the sort of work the OS distributors (aka Operating Systems Vendors, OSVs) are prepared to put in with MeeGo. You’ll see an on-screen keyboard, an active desktop and a glimpse of the applications that Linpus have developed for the solution. It’s far from customer-ready but it’s worlds apart from what you’ve seen on MeeGo builds so far.

The video below is also available in 480p resolution.

More on MeeGo here.

More on  Linpus Lite Multi-Touch Edition here.

We’ll be at MWC next week.

Intels MWC ‘Media Alert’ Gives us Clues on MeeGo Activities.

Tags: , , , ,


meego logoI’ve already posted about what I think will and won’t be part of Intels activity at Mobile World Congress next week and a recent ‘media alert’ sent to me by email confirms my thoughts that this is largely a software event for Intel. It’s all about completing the MeeGo stack from hardware to app store and that means:

  • Moorestown platform – Demonstrating MeeGo and battery life advances.
  • MeeGo 1.2 – Demonstrating multi-touch and other core components.
  • UI layers written in Qt – Compelling demonstrations (probably created by Wind River)
  • AppUp store (probably Beta) launch.

‘Completing the stack’ is the sign to manufacturers that they can now create complete products around this hardware, software and services stack and I expect that Intel have lined up a few partners to make product announcements along this line. Expect a tablet or two and a few netbooks although availability could be Q2 or even later. AppUp is likely to be launched for Meego too because “AppUp center and content zones for Atom-based tablets, netbooks and smart TVs” will be in the Meego Pavilion.

There won’t be a huge amount of hardware to wow the technical press because end products aren’t ready yet so In addition, I’m expecting to see a working demo of a Medfield/MeeGo phone that I doubt will be seen again after it leaves the stage. (It’s likely to be another developer platform from Aava.) Intel will talk around this with key phrases like ‘power envelope’ , ‘full internet’ and ‘multitasking.’ You’ll also hear Android mentioned. Intel are likely to make it clearer that they are working (possibly with Google) on Android for Atom and there’s no reason why they can’t throw the ‘Honeycomb’ flag up too. It will give the journos something to speculate about!

Apart from signalling to important customers that MeeGo is ready and apart from sending out the right signals to the journalists and bloggers, they will be spending a huge amount of money and time courting developers. It’s the critical fuel for their plan and I can see it happening in two phases. 1) Talk to ISVs at MWC. Private meetings, public events, sweeteners. Launch more competitions. 2) Use the MeeGo conference in May to launch a very desirable tablet. In fact, why not announce it at MWC and give it away to all the developers the the MeeGo Summit!

This is, of course, my opinion and I dare say that there’ll be something I wasn’t expecting. A new software deal perhaps? Dalvik for MeeGo? WebOS and MeeGo co-op? All will be revealed one week from today.

If you’re at MWC, check out these two keynotes which could be interesting:

Paul Otellini Keynote on “The Evolution of the Mobile Internet”
Hall 5, Aud. 1 at the Fira
Feb. 16, 9-10:30 a.m. CET
Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini will share his vision for the mobile Internet and describe the related trends, technologies, implications and opportunities for the industry. He’ll also highlight Intel’s progress and future plans to scale Intel® Atom(tm) microprocessors and software solutions to create smart, secure and seamless computing experiences across billions of new connected devices. The session will be moderated by David Rowan (editor, Wired UK) and other speakers will include Carol Bartz (CEO, Yahoo!), John Chambers (chairman and CEO, Cisco) and Masayoshi Son (chairman and CEO, Softbank).

Anand Chandrasekhar Keynote on “Mobile Devices: It’s What’s Inside that Counts”
Hall 5, Room 6 at the Fira
Feb. 16, 4-5:30 p.m. CET
This session will examine key trends in the mobile device segments from a silicon, device, applications, and services perspective. Intel’s senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group will discuss these trends that have the potential to revolutionize the user experience over the next 5-10 years and what it will take

Full disclosure: Intel are sponsoring my trip to MWC without any activity or reporting commitments. (That means: Thanks Intel!)