Maemo 5 update, PR1.2, released
The long-awaited PR1.2 update was finally released to users this week, bringing with it a large number of bug fixes and improvements. First up - new games join the veritable arcade already on offer in Ovi Store. Jurassic 3D Rollercoaster, Zen-bound, Angry Birds (level pack), Sygic, Kroll, Weatherbug, and GoGadget are all available to keep you entertained. [...] Next are the improvements to communication. Email has been improved with the ability to accept or decline an event invitation right there in your inbox, and Facebook IM chat has also been bundled in. The release also brings with it [Skype] video calling, allowing users face-to-face chatting anywhere. [...] An additional update you will be pleased to hear about is portrait browsing on the internet is a-go on the N900. Ovi Maps also gets the update treatment with changes to the UI, improving the experience of finding your way around. And finally, there's also a change to the menu system UI with the first level now customisable. The update also brings platform-level changes in the form of Qt 4.6 (which opens the door to the cross-platform Qt nirvana Nokia has been selling for the past few months), SGX improvements, reduced memory usage, the optification of some build-in libraries to decrease rootfs usage, and other low-level improvements to things like the cellular firmware, connectivity, and X.
Sadly the update is not all sunshine and ponies. For all of its improvements, the much-delayed release also brings with it a string of new bugs and regressions (both minor and not) across the platform that have left many new upgraders feeling a lack of confidence in the update. So users should mind their expectations when installing the update. Fortunately, though, if the next update doesn't bring as many substantial platform-level changes (Qt 4.6, optification of bundled libraries, etc) it seems unlikely that it will be as delayed as PR1.2 was, so hopefully these bugs can be fixed in a reasonable timeframe.
MeeGo 1.0 released
In a moment of interesting, if--apparently--unrelated, timing, MeeGo has hit 1.0. Imad Sousa of the MeeGo Technical Steering Group says, Today we are announcing the project release of MeeGo v1.0. This release provides developers with a stable core foundation for application development and a rich user experience for Netbooks. The MeeGo Netbook user experience is the first to appear, with the development of the MeeGo Handset user experience moving to the open in June. The biggest feature of the 1.0 release is the Netbook UX which, despite being based on the Moblin UI and bearing many similarities, was developed behind closed doors after the MeeGo announcement. Imad goes on to discuss the 1.1 release which is to come in October and will include support for handsets, tablets, and in-vehicle entertainment systems.
Images are available for testing now for both netbooks (with the Netbook UX), and the N900 (with an accelerated XTerm).
Nokia will not be providing commercial support for MeeGo and Harmattan on N900
In a rather unfortunate, if unsurprising given the company's track record and continued demonstrations of their lack of consideration for existing users in their business decisions, Nokia has announced that they will not be providing official support for the N900 for MeeGo/Harmattan. Moving away from the update and to look at MeeGo and the Nokia N900. Many of you have been asking whether the new MeeGo platform will be supported on the N900 once it's device-ready. Although Nokia N900 devices are being used for platform development and testing purposes by those involved in the MeeGo project, Nokia doesn't have plans for a full scale commercial MeeGo upgrade on the Nokia N900. The reason? It's really about ensuring that you have the best possible experience designed for the features on your Nokia N900 device. The justification seems to allude, once again, to the use of capacitive in the next generation device and the "inability" of the N900's resistive screen to support the "required" features for an optimal UI experience in Harmattan. In other words, Nokia's using a marketing-based justification to excuse a business decision. Given that the MeeGo Handset UX will be running on resistive devices, this suggests that the Harmattan UI may not be related to the MeeGo Handset UX, adding yet another fragmented UI experience to the MeeGo ecosystem. Otherwise Nokia's claim here is clearly invalidated, and we're back to the business decision that has likely been behind the unfortunate decision since the beginning.
MeeGo/Harmattan to be community-supported for N900
The silver lining of the announcement is that, apparently, Nokia will be putting a fairly substantial amount of effort towards assisting the community in providing a community-supported release of MeeGo/Harmattan for the N900. In other words, the MeeGo-Harmattan release from Nokia will not be officially supported in the N900. But if you have an engineering mindset and you are interested in exploring what can be technically achieved by the community, please be active in this thread. Carsten, the maemo.org distmaster, is in the best position to coordinate this effort. He has all the Mer experience and he is working in the open project to provide an N900 hardware adaptation for the MeeGo OS. He is also used to collaborate with members of the MeeGo Devices team at Nokia like Tero Kojo or myself, who will pay attention to the progress of this effort. Given the lack of follow-through for promises made in the Diablo/Fremantle timeframe, this editor is only cautiously optimistic about what sort of support we'll actually see here. Although the likely lack of major hardware differences between the N900 and the first Nokia MeeGo device (despite whatever Nokia may wish to claim about capacitive), and the N900's selection as the ARM development platform for MeeGo-proper, the undertaking will be much less significant than Mer's to provide Fremantle on N8x0 devices.
Either way, contributors interested in getting MeeGo/Harmattan running on their N900s should jump in immediately (especially those with platform and hardware-layer experience), as activity is already underway.