The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Explosive Growth in N800 Development

Posted by Deliverator on February 7th, 2007

Since the recent release of the N800, Maemo related development has really taken off. Nokia has really helped foster this development with the sourceforge-like development site, well documented SDK´s and even a preconfigured dev environment released as a VMWare virtual computer image. They have also given away some 500 N800´s to select OSS developers. Whatever the reason, the dev community seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. Here are a few tidbits of dev news:

-Quake 2 has been demonstrated running on the N800 at quite acceptable frame rates. This really demonstrates the drastic improvement the more modern 330mhz Omap chip in the N800 offers over the older OMAP chip in the N770.

-Dual boot from a SD/MMC card is now available for the N800. This really makes it possible for developers to muck about with the OS internals without worring about needing to reflash or possibly brick their device.

-Probably as a direct result of the previous news item, some people are fooling around with full blown windows managers and producing windows manager switching scripts. The Hildon UI is well adapted to the constraints of a mobile tablet, but it also requires existing applications to be tweaked to work properly. Having a full window manager available to run unmodified applications will allow the use of a much wider range of OSS without anything more complicated than a recompile.

-Developers discovered that the N800 contains two previously undocumented chips on the motherboard, hidden under metal RF shielding. The first is an FM radio tuner. A desktop applet to control the FM radio was released by Nokia shortly after the discovery. The radio works quite well, using the headphones as an antenna. The applet has the ability to switch the sound between the internal stereo speakers and headphones when using the headphones as an antenna. With the new alarm framework, this should make it easy for a FM radio alarm clock to be developed.

The other chip discovered in the N800 is a USBOTG power controller. While currently unsupported, many people hope that this will allow for powered hostmode for external devices. Currently, plugging in things like USB keyboards requires the use of a powered USB hub or the construction of a USB power injector.

-Nokia released an updated version of their Mediastreamer application, which supports streaming of various forms of content such as pictures and music from uPnP enabled media servers. The new version adds support for video as well.

-There are now instructions available to get Mono, a OSS implementation of the .NET Framework, running on the N800 and N770. There are still no MAEMO specific bindings in MONO yet, but this is a good step towards having applications that can run on the desktop and on the Nokia Internet Tablets without recompilation.