In this edition...

  1. Front Page
    • The moment Nokia realised MeeGo wouldn't meet their requirements
  2. Development
    • PySide 1.0.3 release officially supports MeeGo 1.2 N900 DE
    • Translation freeze for MeeGo 1.2.1 on 15th June
  3. Devices
    • Asus announce MeeGo netbook
    • Acer Iconia M500 tablet runs MeeGo on an Atom CPU
    • Nomovok port MeeGo to Nook Color
  4. In the Wild
    • Is one of MeeGo's problems its name?
    • Does MeeGo have a $32 license fee? No
    • Understanding MeeGo
  5. Announcements
    • Desktop flip clock
    • Extshortcut - desktop shortcuts in Maemo 5 of any size & icon

Front Page

The moment Nokia realised MeeGo wouldn't meet their requirements

An article in Business Week, pointed to by Engadget, documents the moment that Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia decided that MeeGo could not provide the future platform for Nokia: At its current pace, Nokia was on track to introduce only three MeeGo-driven models before 2014-far too slow to keep the company in the game. The problem with the account, which strives hard to present Elop as a considerate CEO with few remaining options besides turning to Microsoft, is two-fold. Absolutely, Nokia needed a shake-up, but Lou Gerstner faced simiar challenges at IBM in the early 90s and solved it by improving cross-company collaboration, reorganising the business and cutting swathes of middle managers. This, combined with the resulting cost savings from cutting headcount, should've meant Nokia were able to release three high-end MeeGo devices by the end of 2013; with Symbian filling in the featurephone market below it.

Ignoring iPod Touches, Apple release 2 iOS devices a year: a phone and a tablet; often with relatively minor improvements over the previous year's model. It's hard to believe that this business model around MeeGo devices couldn't have been similarly successful for Nokia. The organisation and pigeon-holing of devices into N-series for multimedia or E-series for business is the business organisation that needed to be addressed. The iPhone can do multimedia and busines requirements equally well, why couldn't a single MeeGo device from Nokia?

Elop's solution of going to another company to provide their platform fails to address the core issues plaguing Nokia that prevent them from being competitive in the market (namely middle-management bloat and incompetence; a multitude of confusing, unfocused compromise devices; and the inability to ship a quality platform). While, arguably, moving to Microsoft as the platform provider enables Nokia to focus on the hardware that has always been their strong poin; hitching themselves to what's currently not a winning horse (nor likely to be) while eliminating much of their differentiation potential isn't likely to put them in a good position.


PySide 1.0.3 release officially supports MeeGo 1.2 N900 DE

PySide, the Nokia-sponsored Qt bindings for Python, have a new release out, with the following changes: PySide official supported on MeeGo 1.2 DE (continuous update); several bug fixes (list below); new Class ‘ClassInfo’: used to replace Q_CLASSINFO macro; now the number of signals and slots are limitless; support for Qt 4.5 is back; Bugzilla theme fix (Lovely bug is back);

Translation freeze for MeeGo 1.2.1 on 15th June

The translation freeze for MeeGo 1.2.1 is approaching: As you are probably aware, MeeGo 1.2 release happened about ten days ago. This affected mainly the netbook and IVI platforms, as the MeeGo UX code had been posted a month before that. The June 15th string freeze is for the MeeGo UX code, which is focused on the tablet platform. All applicationdevelopers working on MeeGo UX apps will freeze their strings on June 15, and submit new tarballs to OBS with the very latest TS files. The L10N engineer will extract the TS files from the tarballs, check them to make sure they are valid, and will have them uploaded to by Friday noon (PST) June 17th. If you have translations to submit, do so before the deadline if you want them in the next release.


Asus announce MeeGo netbook

Presumably one of the upcoming device announcements Arjan mentioned at the MeeGo Conference, Asus has announced an inexpensive Atom-based netbook available with MeeGo: At the Computex trade-show, ASUS has launched a new netbook, the Eee PC X101, which uses the MeeGo OS as its default operating system. The X101 has a 10 inch screen, weighs around 950g and is just 17.6mm thick. It uses an Intel Atom N435 processor running at 1.33 Ghz and is available in a range of colours and configurations, with pricing starting from around $200.

Acer Iconia M500 tablet runs MeeGo on an Atom CPU

Acer has also joined the (small) group of companies shipping or planning to ship MeeGo devices with their newly announced Iconia M500 tablet. It's the first in the company's new M Series and runs MeeGo atop an Atom (Moorestown) processor. Its appearance and dimensions are strikingly similar to the company's Android tablet, the A500, and that similarity extends to the resolution of the screen as well: 1280 x 800. The MeeGo interface is a custom Acer skin offering what was described as a "snackable UI." The point seems to be to offer instant access to the things you care about, and the brief demo we saw featured a set of live widgets organized around an "Acer circle." The notable part of this announcement is the custom UI running on MeeGo. Acer announced it to be on sale at the end of this year.

Nomovok port MeeGo to Nook Color

The Nook Color is an interesting device, as it offers very high quality hardware specs at a very reasonable price (given Barnes & Noble's plan to subsidize the device with book sales). Effectively an oversized N900 (OMAP3621, 512MB RAM, 7" IPS touchscreen, etc.), and very hackable, it makes a good potential target for a MeeGo tablet. Unfortunately, efforts so far have been stymied by driver and kernel issues. Evidently the folks at Nomovok managed to get things running. Ash over at MeeGoExperts covers: Now the guys at Nomovok ported the software stack onto the device taking about 1 weeks of a developers time. The biggest issue to overcome was the touchscreen panel controller which they needed to hack the driver to overcome. Most of the rest of the time was taken making x-window run adequately well. At present it has working WiFi, TouchScreen and Hardware Button controls. Still to resolve are BlueTooth and the Gravity Sensor. You editor took an interest in the device last year when B&N offered a sale through eBay. Sadly Android truly is sub-par and my device has been waiting in a drawer for a real OS to deliver it to usefulness.

In the Wild

Is one of MeeGo's problems its name?

Randall Arnold is proposing that one of MeeGo's problems is its name (which likely anyone from the Maemo community around when MeeGo was announced last year would agree with): But months later, Nokia’s retreat from MeeGo was followed by dismay amongst the faithful and abandonment by the casually interested. Many were put off by the name “MeeGo” and are now left to wonder if the childish-sounding appellation has some involvement in the operating system’s recognition problem. [...] Could MeeGo’s name be hurting its chances? I know it sounds trivial, but at some point adoption and acceptance are driven by marketing more than anything else. When consumers are faced with dozens of products that really aren’t differentiated at a meaningful level, then buy-in comes down to presentation. The best-looking of the bunch. The most clever commercial. The coolest name. The name is hardly the platform's most pressing issue (nor the most tackleable of them), and a name change at this point seems unlikely to generate more confidence in the platform.

Does MeeGo have a $32 license fee? No

More FUD from the man who brought you the excellent-journalism-in-action piece last year in Dublin: "Nokia's MeeGo is doomed". Back again with "MeeGo will be dead in eight months" Tamlin rants about MeeGo's inability to competent in the market, going so far as to invent a fictitious "32 dollar licence". An excerpt, A MeeGo licensee tells TechEye there's no chance for the platform. The 32 dollar licence (Android is $2, Microsoft is $100) is only getting bought up as a way to show and save face, to tell the partners involved that you're current and as a pat on the back. According to informed sources, MeeGo will be doomed as soon as eight months from now.

Despite the money thrown at the huge MeeGo developer conference in Dublin last year, where the entire Guiness brewery was hired out, it's a dead duck. Like throwing money down the drain. The tablet offered to all of the thousands of participants has been described to us as "horrible". Of course as MeeGo is an open source project and under no licencing more costly than the compliance program, the $32 is certainly an interesting one. Henri Bergius's rebuttal is below.

Understanding MeeGo

MeeGo presents a confusing subject, unsure enough of its positioning when it was first announced, recent business shifts have only confused things more. In response to a rather impressive blog post from, Henri Bergius has written up a summary of sorts of the project and the platform to help clarify when it is and what it could be: Subsequent discussion has highlighted the Tablet and IVI UXes as something where the project's achieved openness fell far short of its publicised openness. Nathan Willis' write-up (in LWN) of Carsten Munk talk at the conference sheds further light.


Desktop flip clock

Long been iconic of HTC Android devices, Ivan Daniluk has released a Qt-based widget for Maemo 5, FlipClock: Homescreen widget for Maemo 5, scalable - you can set any size you want, fast and smooth animation, different animation types, skin themes are stored in human-readable (and editable) form - easy to edit/add new themes, configurable on-click action, fullscreen mode for standalone flipclock, standalone clock can keep backlight on, widget and standalone program pauses when phone is locked or homescreen is changing - saves power and cpu ticks, localization support, and written in C++/Qt4 Currently only available in Extras-devel, care should be taken in its installation and testing.

Extshortcut - desktop shortcuts in Maemo 5 of any size & icon

Vadym Khokhlov has released a desktop widget that allows users to place shortcuts to applications and bookmarks using any sized graphics or iconography they choose: Extshortcut. Now available in Extras-testing, those willing to risk beta software and rate it against the QA criteria are encouraged to do so.