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Nokia N900 – Views from the Pundit Analysts, Maemo & Python

Nokia N900 - Macro Mode - Mini Roses
Photo taken today by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N900

Tues 12.01.09 – Rabbit rabbit. With the greeting to the new month out of the way, I would like to alert you to several interesting takes on Nokia’s strategy and mentions of the N900:
GigaOm’s very own Om Malik had a chat with Nokia’s Tero Ojanperä last week and Om now has a wee bit more faith in Nokia’s direction. Read it at, “For Nokia’s Ovi, the World (Minus the US) is Enough.
Analyst Michael Gartenberg questions What’s the future of Nokia? on Engadget’s Entelligence:

“Second, Nokia’s services strategy is as muddled as the fruit in Don Draper’s Old Fashioned. Ovi sounded good when it was announced but it’s now gone through so many iterations, with different services added, dropped, and changed that it’s hard to know what’s in and what’s out. Comes With Music has been reported as having as few as 107,000 users worldwide, and Nokia’s put off bringing it to the US this year, leading me to wonder what kind of future it has as a service. The N-Gage project not only resulted in two failed phone designs but the service itself is on its deathbed.”

As a Nokia mobile phone owner, I have felt quite burned over the last four years by Nokia’s frequent changing around and dropping software and services. I won’t even invest any of my data at Ovi, as I don’t want it to go away in 2 years when Nokia has changed its strategy again or the project manager has moved on along with the marketing manager to another project and the new folks in charge don’t care and move on to new divisions themselves.
The big reason that I am so excited about Maemo is that Python comes already installed and integrated on the Nokia N900, so I can code my own apps and not worry about will they be supported 12-18 months from now. I don’t code in C, C+, Objective C, Java or Symbian, so most of the world of mobile application development is closed to me, but I do code in Python. While one can install python on Symbian and run a PyS60 app on a Symbian phone it is not without hassle and if you want to share the app, then the other person has to install Python on their phone too, thus creating a large barrier to entry.
Roland Tanglao and Croozeus are also both excited about pre-installed Python on the N900. Yesterday, I was on the Maemo.org website looking at the various apps available for download and the ones in development. The best part was finding out that many of the apps that I would want to use or contribute to are coded in Python. One of the great parts of any Open Source and/or Linux community is the ability to contribute to projects and to the code base, and now for me it is even better that I can contribute in Python. Furthermore, I am very excited that Maemo community has an active PyMaemo sub-community.
Yes, the Nokia N900 may seem a bit too geeky to some, but in the long run, I do think Maemo will bring in developers who have been alienated by Symbian’s high barriers to entry and the whole certification / app signing troubles, developers who will have more choice in programming languages, more choice in how to contribute & distribute. More choice means more mobile applications available to everyone.
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Related N900 Posts:
Nokia N900 : The Artist Phone
Nokia N900 : The Gold Standard Test
The Nokia Flagship Face Off : Nokia N900 vs. Nokia N97 : Part I, Night Video

2 Responses to “Nokia N900 – Views from the Pundit Analysts, Maemo & Python”

  1. rtanglao.myopenid.com

    thanks for the link!
    love to seem some sample python code (please post on github.com or if you don’t want to learn git, paste into a pastebin or a gist on github.com) from you or anybody to read the GPS and the accelerometer and generate some graphics based on GPS and accelerometer data
    looking forward to your N900 python experiments!

  2. Mark Dennehy

    Python isn’t quite installed in the sense of having a dev environment on the N900 from the get-go, but it’s not much work to set up a full environment. Here’s my walkthrough for getting up and running with Python on the N900:
    http://www.stochasticgeometry.ie/2010/04/29/python-on-the-nokia-n900/
    It took only 27 minutes to get from absolutely nothing to running the first HelloWorld.py on the phone. It did take the rest of the afternoon to install the full dev environment (including the emulated N900 used for testing), but mostly that was waiting on downloads. There’s only one real technical hitch, and that only affects 64-bit platforms (and yes, the walkthrough has the fix documented in it).
    Hope it helps…