What the Nokia N810 means for maemo developers
- Today a third Nokia Internet Tablet was unveiled. It goes a step further/higher in the Nokia & Nseries channels. Expect more people to know about these devices, more potential users of your software.
- The hardware changes don’t imply any departure from the N800 in terms of application development. In fact, the same OS2008 based on maemo 4.0 Chinook runs on both the N810 and N800.
- Having integrated GPS and hardware keyboard instead of optional equivalents via Bluetooth is an invitation to expand features on location awareness and heavier text/key input. Game developers might expand horizons as well.
- We are running a N810 maemo device program open to current and potential contributors. Note that we have removed the word “developer” to make it clear that non-programmers are included as well. More details tomorrow.
There are more improvements in the software side. I’m leaving them for later since they are tied to the OS2008 and not specifically to the N810.
- The N810 sales will start on mid November and simultaneously the OS2008 will be available for download for N800 users.
- Since the Chinook beta SDK was released one month ago, developers will have almost two months to port their applications and be ready for the new and upgraded users.
- All the porting stories I have heard were rather good in terms of time invested and easiness using the documentation and tools offered (of course I might be biased, please share your own story via maemo garage, planet, developers list…)
- Yes, the maemo community was one important factor when deciding to organize the N810 launch weeks in advance of the sales start. Independent third party software is also going to get more visibility in the Nokia channels.
But in fact one of the most interesting news for software developers and open source enthusiasts is not tied to the N810 or Chinook, although it’s influenced by both. Maemo is from now on a supported platform in Forum Nokia. This means a lot:
- Forum Nokia offers support to professional developers. This is what they do, and this is what maemo.org was/is not intended to do beyond community support. If maemo is part of your professional work or you would like to develop professionally for the maemo platform, make sure Forum Nokia knows about you.
- Forum Nokia also knows about organizing events, business networking, discounted devices, access to prototypes, promotion of champion developers and companies…
- Forum Nokia is now a window of maemo, GNOME/GTK+, GNU/Linux and open source development to a huge community. They have more than 3,4 million registered users, if only a fraction of them pays now attention to maemo…
- They are pretty active in discussion boards (Threads: 114,626, Posts: 349,774, Members: 133,656), the wiki (around 3.000 legitimate pages and 9000 contributors) and blogs. They will challenge maemo.org and hopefully this will improve the maemo offering in both sides. maemo.org will keep being the source for all the documentation and we won’t duplicate resources but link each other.
- The maemo community will gain more diversity with developers with a strong background in software development for mobile handhelds. Symbian, S60, C++, .Net, Java… are the strong flags there (Python growing as well).
- If maemo scales up, Forum Nokia knows how to handle this. Of course their objective is to bring the maemo platform to a commercial success. This implies answers to a question that is unclear to most of us: what are the business models in a mobile platform based mostly in open source? These answers are needed not only by maemo developers and Forum Nokia, the whole open source community will benefit of good answers as soon as they appear and are proved to be right.
With the professional support and the most Nokia centric services clearly in the Forum Nokia side, maemo.org may gain even more characteristics of a normal open source project. It depends a lot on you, on what you want maemo to be.
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Tags: Forum Nokia, maemo, N810, Nokia, technology