[maemo-developers] [maemo-developers] Interested in developing applications for the Nokia 770 with Maemo...

From: Ralph Giles giles at xiph.org
Date: Fri May 5 20:05:10 EEST 2006
On Fri, May 05, 2006 at 09:23:34AM -0700, Redefined Horizons wrote:

> [1] What are Nokia's future plans for supporting a handheld with a Linux OS?
> Have the made any indication as to their commitment to the open source
> community, and how had the 770 worked out for the company? (I hope there
> adventure with Linux and open source has been profitable...)

I cannot of course answer this. What I've heard from the rumor mill is: 
There's a dedicated team within Nokia responsible for the 770. They 
believe strongly in linux on the platform, and many of them believe in 
open development. This is at odds with the rest of the company. People 
above the team decided to try the tablet, but expected it to fail. It 
did not. There will probably be successor hardware running Maemo, but
nothing has been said officially. It's like pulling teeth (both inside 
Nokia and from without) to get public information released.

> [2] How rugged is the Nokia 770? How is the readability of the screen after
> exposure to sunlight? What is the battery life? (Our typical users will have
> the unit outdoors for long periods of time.) Is there an rugged case for the
> Nokia 770? (I couldn't find anything at OtterBox...)

You'd want a ruggedized case if you're planning on dropping it. The 
slide-on cover does a good job of protecting the screen from scratches,
and I don't worry about it rattling around in my bag, but that's about 

The screen is fine in the shade, but like most backlit lcd screens, it's 
hard to read in direct sunlight. Of course, you're unlikely to do better 
for a reasonable price; it's just a pity so many people use computers 
in dark offices instead of outside. :-)

The n770 have very good power management, so battery life depends on 
software. I get about 3 days "standby", about 5 hours reading text
and about 3 hours "actively" using it.

> [3] How mature is the Python environment for application development on the
> Nokia, and will we be able to use GTK for our GUI design?

The python environment isn't "mature" (or officially supported) but it 
sounds like it works ok from what people have said here. GTK is 
(the only toolkit) officially supported, and porting a normal gtk 
app is straightforward.

> [4] How is access to external devices like a digital camera, GPS unit, or
> other device for application developers? Is it rather straight forward, or
> more like a nightmare? Has anyone tried interfacing with a handheld GPS unit
> via a USB connection?

Using USB in host mode is a bit of a nightmare because of some hardware 
limitations. It has a mini-B connector, and you must supply power to 
this from an external source for it to function, quite apart from not 
being able to power a target device from the battery. Otherwise the 
hardware is perfectly capable of acting as a host. So if you're building 
a custom peripheral this is probably fine, but I wouldn't expect end 
users to be able to plug in a random usb device.

Bluetooth, on the other hand, works great. All the GPS experimentation 
I've read about involves bluetooth.


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