Nokia N9: state of the art of mobile Linux and Qt

20Jun11

Nokia has unveiled what comes next in its Linux and Qt fronts. Here you have links to the sources and a summary of the implications for the MeeGo and open source communities:

N9

N9

The Nokia N9 is the ultimate Qt-powered mobile device. I find it a pleasure to watch and play with. Its polymer unibody chassis complemented by a strong and scratch-resistant curved glass makes it both solid and smooth in the hand. Multitasking is pushed forward with a combination of open tasks, events and apps. You navigate through these views with a simple gesture, a swipe of a finger. Get a grasp of this beautiful (and open!) product at http://swipe.nokia.com.

N950

While the N9 becomes publicly available, Nokia has produced a limited edition of N950 devices for the most devoted Qt and MeeGo developers with apps in the works. We are offering 250 devices to open source community developers through the MeeGo Community Device Program. Nokia Developer has more for champions, partners and other professional developers.

MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan

Nokia’s implementation of the MeeGo platform has been released. It combines a playful multitasking UX with an efficient OS that shares the same API and architecture pillars of MeeGo upstream. It’s a great demonstration of what can be done with the MeeGo platform on a mobile device. Check http://www.developer.nokia.com/swipe/ux/.

Qt updates

The Qt SDK has been updated with a Harmattan target including the Qt Quick UI Components. The way for Qt developers to target MeeGo, Symbian and other platforms is being paved. Nokia is also making Qt core to its strategy to take the Internet to the ‘next billion’. Qt is a star in the OSS stack and is at the backbone of all these announcements. The Qt5 governance plans becoming reality as we speak make it even brighter. More at http://qt.nokia.com.

MeeGo Community Edition

The community team that has brought usable MeeGo upstream releases to the Nokia N900 will add now the new devices in its scope. The planning and work will happen in the open, just like the rest of the Community Edition activities. Remember that these are not Nokia official releases, but fun R&D experimentation open to all community contributors. More at http://wiki.meego.com/ARM/N900

The wait is over for MeeGo developers. Now it’s time to show off your apps!

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41 Responses to “Nokia N9: state of the art of mobile Linux and Qt”

  1. 1 thp

    Congratulations :) Looking forward to doing great things with Harmattan!

  2. 2 Qole

    I’m so happy to see the “MeeGo” brand attached to this device. I’m glad it all worked out!

  3. Thanks! The N9 is the best that has been done with open source yet!

  4. Congratulations with the launch guys! I wasn’t convinced about it before. I am now. Congrats! :)

  5. Thanks for loading up the MeeGo Community Device Program, Quim!

  6. The N9 looks great! Congratulations to everyone who worked on it.

    Are there any details of how open / hacker-friendly it is? A bit of Googling hasn’t brought anything up. E.g:

    - can I open a terminal, wget an unsigned package file and install it?
    - can I submit a bug report or patch that may get into a firmware update?
    - are any of the N9′s applications open source?
    - can I run Python / PHP in the terminal?
    - are standard bash/busybox/GNU tools available?

    Many thanks,
    Dave

  7. 7 Zache

    Hmm, why you are offering only 250 devices to open source community developers? I would guess that it is more interesting device to most of the developers if it is something what you can actually get. (When one can get N9 is still unknown until it is actually in sales)

  8. FINALLY :-D Great news, Both the new device and the facts that Qt Components for Harmattan is released :-)

  9. 9 qgil

    dave1010, I have answered your questions at the N9 thread http://forum.meego.com/showpost.php?p=22819&postcount=12 because I’m sure that more people will be interested.

    Please keep N9 discussions there. Thanks!

  10. 10 qgil

    Zake, I have answered your question at http://forum.meego.com/showpost.php?p=22821&postcount=20

    Please let’s keep in that thread all the discussions relative to the community developer device program, since other people might be interested as well. Thanks!

  11. Wow, Quim, I’m really impressed with the N9… Amazing hardware, stunning UI. Makes me wonder why the move to MS was needed if something so great was coming…

  12. Wahou amazing hardware… except the keyboard is missing.

    The MeeGo UI look good too !

  13. Congratulations to all the team who made this device possible! I’m looking forward to port my existing and future apps to Harmattan. Nice job guys!!!

  14. Swipe is a MeeGo closed source extension.

  15. 15 qgil

    Sure, I have explained and it was said in the launch that the UX is Nokia proprietary, However the device is open, and power users and developers can install and modify whatever packages they want, try to run other OSs, etc. Following the tradition of the Nokia Linux based devices.

    That’s what I meant.

  16. 16 rico

    thanks to all nokia staff for putting so much effort in the two devices.

    the final design looks sleek, let me guess you was putting a developer and design intern in a circle of death and let them fight for the hardware keyboard. long story short, developers hit the gym you never know when you need it ;)

    but anyway i hope MeeGo as a open source platform will now kick-start, it is clearly the better choice.

  17. Thanks guys for the effort put into this device, at least we don’t have to walk around with bricks anymore, I’m getting the same kind of awe I had with the N810, v. shmexy :) <3

  18. Congrats on shipping! Must be nice to finally be able to talk about a much bigger part of your work in public now. :)

  19. 19 petur

    1) the N9/N950 are the last hi-end devices Nokia makes that support Qt, after that comes WP7 and it’s bye-bye Qt, so congrats on hyping a dead mobile technology. Shame on you. Unless Qt will be available on WP7. Can you confirm this?

    2) Unless the N9/N950 contains no closed components, I wouldn’t call this platform open at all. Can you confirm this?

    /me is betting on NO and NO :(

  20. 20 Stéphane

    Congratulations, it’s a very attractive device.
    It comes a bit late however, I’ve already succumbed to the dark-side with a new Android device.
    I still hope there will be other Meego phones in the year to come (probably not from Nokia I’m afraid).

  21. 21 Timo Jyrinki

    petur: 1) Qt has a bright future ahead of it, if you read the article, so I wouldn’t take your jump to a conclusion. Regardless of WP7. Also take into account all the other mobile MeeGo devices from other vendors, and add them to N9 + S^3 devices (10 new in the next year was announced) + “next billion” from Nokia – low-end, high-end, everything.

    Regarding 2) you’re talking funny since, to me, again it feels that you’re just complaining for complaining’s sake – do you have real interest in the subject? I doubt you are using the only completely open phone (software wise) at the moment – Neo FreeRunner. I am, and I’m happy to see today’s announcements of most promising/potential follow-up devices ever. N900 is shaping up now rapidly on that front, and it’s nice that N950/N9 continue the line with awesome hardware. Also, welcome to join the mentioned MeeGo community effort to make N950/N9 the next “no closed components” phone out there. We will make it real.

  22. @ Timo:

    This is really an encouriging statement.
    Thanks to all who have this vision and are working on its realisation :-)

  23. 23 petur

    Timo,

    1) Well, I consider Symbian a dying platform, and if Meego ever takes off as a phone platform remains to be seen (now that Nokia ditched it), So as a developer, I honestly don’t see why I should concentrate on Qt. On PC/tablets maybe but on mobile?

    2) The N900 is a nice example of a closed open platform, there are enough closed binaries to make it the community very hard to support this device, just see what the kernel-power and CSSU people have to endure. So the complaint is real: an open platform should mean that there are no binary blobs *at all*. We can discuss if certain apps are allowed to be binary-only, but the core functionality and OS must be open for that definition to be true. Which was what I was asking confirmation about.

    As for specs, the 1GHz would have been great *last year*, compared to current handsets it just floats along. Regardless if you really need this speed.

    Sorry to be the realistic person in this cheerful bunch ;)

  24. Congrats Quim on a successful delivery of a very long birthing process. Thanks also for being a voice for free software in what appears to be a very strange organization :-)

  25. You promised the N900 as an open device too, but it has all sorts of critical parts closed. You even shut down our ability to roll our own kernels for awhile (which could have been solved if you released the flasher, which is probably 3 years now since you said that would be opened).

    You may have used some open/free parts, but so does Apple’s Darwin. That does not make it in open system. Nokia may leverage free/open software when it suits them, and they hype it a lot, but be clear: they are not doing open phones. Your credibility with the free/open communities is all but destroyed at this point–right there with your stock, barely above 6!

  26. 26 qgil

    Andy, thank you very much for your kind words (and have heard about some changes in your life – congrats!)

    Well, it looks like the term “open” is too delicate. No worries, Nokia is not claiming it anywhere in its marketing (go search in the official sites) and I’m writing it down here for those few developers that actually put their time modding OS releases, kernels, porting additional libraries, similar and totally different operating systems… If you think there will be a better device to hack and play with then please, go get it by all means.

    Still, as a software freedom lover I’m happy and even proud to be part of a team that manages to offer a great consumer product that happens to have a rear door for those willing to experiment with free software. That’s it, that’s all. Enjoy your projects.

  27. 27 ][

    It’s a shame that the N950 isn’t generally available – what’s the point of making a device like that when it has something the N9 doesn’t have?

    I’d hope that there are bolt-on keyboards for the N9 if the N950 isn’t made available to a wider audience than just a few developers. Plenty of people would not mind the shortcomings of the N950 if only for the keyboard being there.

  28. 28 qgil

    If you need a keyboard for the N9 you can just pair one.

  29. 29 Question

    @qgil: I see that a lot of Meego Harmattan components are still closed. Will be some of them opened (which was closed for years in diablo, fremantle)?

  30. 30 ][

    So the majority of us have to carry more bulk of a second adapter, while a few get the proper(albeit hinge-problematic) solution?

  31. Awesome Awesome. BIG kudos to each & everyone involved with the N9. MeeGo for the Win!

  32. 32 qgil

    From MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan you can expect a mostly open platform with a mostly Nokia proprietary UX layer on top.

    The MeeGo Community Edition project is the best context to propose and discuss the re-licensing of specific Nokia proprietary packages. A good example of a reason for opening a component would be that the MeeGo project is interested in adopting it. If you have any ideas please discuss them there.

  33. It feels like an old Maemo Summit when reading comments from all of these friends. ;)

  34. 34 foobar

    I think that the N9 is the most open device available on the market. More interesting than Android, that’s for sure. Congratulations on you hard work, and the healthy relations with many open source projects. Hopefully that relation can improve, of course, by allowing customizations like Android does.

  35. 35 Villy Kazasyan

    First of all I was thinking that I will be able to update my N900,because N900 looks better than N9 and N9 has no keyboard and for me a phone with no keyboeard is looking like the stupid Iphone. The keyboard is very important ,so never miss it! For example N950 looks good. But Now my question is: After so long expectations and waiting for the new firmware for N900,now what it means,that I have to throw in the trush my N900 and to buy N9,because i cant even buy the N950,because its written that N950 will be only for special people who work with applications. Very stupid!!!!! And as I said I want a phone like N900 with keyboard,not only digital keyboard.So till I am waiting for N950 to be releeased in my country Bullgaria or a phone similar to it,because I dont think N9 is a phone for me,its very women phone. So till the time I wait can I update my N900 with this Meego and will it makes my phone faster and can I have more applications for example games like Fifa or it will be the same ?????? Please someone to help me with my questions.

  36. “If you need a keyboard for the N9 you can just pair one.” Well, a few months ago I would’ve objected to that statement since having a built-in keyboard is a bit of a different issue, but having gotten a full-size (but compact) bluetooth keyboard for my N900 I have to say that it’s really the optimal solution. So with that being said, I know my own question is will the N9 will indeed support the bluetooth HID profile out of the box?

    With the N900 one had to remove HID from the bluetoothd disabled list before it would work, and even then I personally had issues until I discovered that someone had written an External Keyboard module for System Settings. If the N9 supports external keyboards out of the box, that’d be a rather dramatic improvement! But as long as BlueZ’s HID-profile support can be enabled and the External Keyboard module is portable (or someone writes an equivalent) then it’s no big downside either, but I’m curious if you know for sure what the support situation is for external keyboards.

  37. 37 N user

    Thanks to all who are involved in making this amazing device and of course to Nokia, which is the best phone maker on the planet. I have used the N900 for almost two years now and it is the best I ever experienced. I am looking forward to use MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan on the N9 when it is available in my country.
    The only thing that worries me is that you can’t remove the battery in the N9.
    I hope that Nokia will listen to their consumers and make more devices with this OS, rather than merely devices using WP7.

  38. Hi,

    Does anyone know what audio DAC chip the N9 is running?

  39. 39 Chump

    N9 does look nice – it’s a credit to the Nokia people who worked on MeeGo. Totally sucks that the N950 is only for a few people – I’ll never by Nokia again, just because of that.

    Mostly I use my N900 keyboard when I’m in bed or walking through town – a paired keyboard is only appropriate in Nokia la-la-land :)

    But I’d totally want an N9 if it wasn’t for that :D

  40. Great job for Nokia. It is my favorite manufactuer. N9 is great design and powerfull


  1. 1 Nokia N9: state of the art of mobile Linux and Qt « flors | Maemo Meego

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