Is this the end of Maemo5?

Some time ago I stopped following Maemo news. For me N900 became “just a phone” which I used for calls, checking email in crappy Modest, browsing web from time to time and to read Twitter (if any application for it works) or Facebook (by web browser cause there are no apps for it).

But recently I got one tweet which pointed me to “State of Maemo” post. For me it looks like Nokia decided to finally abandon sinking ship and leave Nokia N900 users alone. Qt will probably get some updates to show that they care about cross platform support. How many MeeGo Qt apps will work on Maemo5? No one knows probably but one thing is sure — they will have to be recompiled because Harmattan will be hard-float (confirmed by Nokia developer during UDS-N). But for rest community will have to care about.

OK, there was told that there are “ideas about opening various pieces of Maemo source code that are still closed” but what it will be? No one knows. I would like to get Calendar opened but when it will happen I will probably do not have N900 anymore…

And today I read total “please ignore our ,but ignored by us, platform” message:

Last week we spoke with Nokia. We were actively discouraged from developing for Maemo any further. There are lots of things we love about Maemo, including an awesome user community so we’re disappointed to see it EOL’d. It’s frustrating to have put so much effort into an app only to see the platform it’s on be terminated. Whether we reappear on MeeGo — the successor to Maemo — depends in part on Nokia. In the mean time, our conversation with Nokia has led us to deprioritize the update we were working on, though no final decision has been made yet as to whether or not it’ll ship. I’ll keep you posted.

Somebody wants to buy my N900? I am going to move to Android because this looks like a platform where OS vendor care at least on some of devices by providing system upgrades. And there are communities which provide updates for abandoned devices. And no, I do not plan to buy device running MeeGo — enough money spent on Nokia devices.

22 thoughts on “Is this the end of Maemo5?

  1. Dawid Lorenz

    I have very similar thoughts on this. While I love my N900 in general, I simply can’t bear with its clunkiness sometimes. I’ve recently bought cheap Android phone just for curiosity, put Froyo on it and it’s… making me cry (here’s why: http://blog.adl.pl/android-makes-me-cry/539 ). Honestly, neverending wait for Harmattan is killing me and more days I wait, more I’m convinced to get myself HTC Desire Z and switch to Android altogether. And even if Harmattan gets released (say in 2017), I can’t be sure how good it would be and if it would boot happily on my N900. Too many question marks, too many doubts and this is straight route to loose your most faithful users, Nokia…

  2. zyga

    I wonder if next time you will buy an iOS device.

    Why? Because while Maemo is worse than Android any time of the day android ecosystem is not without issues itself. I look forward to your posts about fractured developer community, fractured and often frozen firmware versions and finally fractured android market. The chaos of “freedom” to lock down, differentiate by crippling firmware and tying into operator-provided services that you cannot disable.

    1. Dawid Lorenz

      With Android you can at least rely on rich community that often provides alternative ROMs, apps etc. With iOS you’re pretty much closed to Apple’s choice. This is what puts me off iPhone.

    2. Marcin Juszkiewicz

      iOS does not give me options. All I would get is one system + apps + “you must have mswindows or macosx because of itunes”. With Android I will get a choice – custom “roms” (I hate that naming), alternative applications etc.

      And community which does not go like sheeps after guy in black golf…

  3. mikecomputing

    I really can understand that nokia abandons Gtk+/Hildon and maemo 5. They have to go forward. Maemo 5 was GREAT restart going forward as I see it :-)

    But Gtk/Hildon was a deadend if they want more developers. Ofcourse Hildon is a great desktop but the API is kinda “broken”. The API framework seems to have alot of librarys and non documented stuff and U have to “hack” to if u want to access phone api, camera and sensorframework.

    With QTMobility/QtQuick they atleast fix those problems. And have a shared API with Symbian is good. And as far as I know QtMobility 1.1 is already supported on N900 even if its only beta. And with that we have access to camera, sensors etc…

    But now I really hope that they get the grip!! and continue development of Harmattan/Meego and release new HW ASAP!! it is the only solution if they want me and other techfreaks going with Nokia. Techpeople doesnt want Symbian!! Learn Nokia and listen!!!

    But atm. it looks like theyr STILL font get it :-@ and continue focusing most development still on Symbian :@

    The fact is not much talk about meego lately from Nokia :-( Sometimes I am not even sure they will release any Meego handset HW :-(

    As a tech/developer/linuxgeek this frustrates me alot. QTMobility/QtQuick is good but still focusing on Symbian!! Nokia CMON!!! Listen to us!!

    I love my N900 and will NOT sell it because when I bought the phone I did understand that it was a “engineer phone” like HTCdream was, and not a phone for ordinary people.

    But what makes me frustrated is that they dont get it!! Why on earth doesnt they get more resources working on Meego/Maemo6?!?

    The fact is there is NO good replacement for N900 so far. Android is just broken! So again why nokia! Why do they dont get it and improve it :@

    I still hope on Meego else I dont know what I can buy next time :-(

  4. bob

    well, history with n800/n810 and maemo4 repeats once again. :-( i’m surprised, that you are surprised. after all, n900 was too, created as test device.

    unfortunately, nokia decided to create series of test devices (770, n800/n810, n900) not real products.

    1. Marcin Juszkiewicz

      N9 will also be test device. Will there be other phones with MeeGo? Hard to tell. I wish them to release something at least to prove that they can.

      For me Nokia should give up on smartphones and move all developers to S40 — this is the only system which they did right so far.

  5. Bec

    I’d say we should wait a year or two for MeeGo to take off.

    I already did the switch to android and I don’t regret it one bit. There’s an abundance of programs mods and interfaces(launchers) to choose from and an incredible flash and internet experience.

    As for iOS, iOS is trash. Coming from N900 you will never get used to that crappy multitasking. Think of it on N900 as being instant(with camkeyd) On iOS, apps don’t really close and neither do they really run. They just sit there and eat ram making the device lagy by the end of the day. Task switching is extremely painful: -1 click to minimize an app -2 clicks to access the “running” apps -long hold and press to turn them in closing mode -from here on no more switching, pressing one = closing -closing them takes time as there’s a painful sliding animation after each one you closed.

    Task switching is so uncomfortable that by the end of the day you’ll be pissed on how many apps you left running and the time it takes to close them.

    Added the closed environment, lack of flash, bad hardware (the signal issue is just the popular one, search and you’ll fine every single device had major bugs) and apple’s way of fixing things(eg. faking the signal bars) I deffinitley would not recommend an iPhone.

    Then there’s the fact that bluetooth doesn’t work, no file transfers and the extremely dated UI – seriously, if you’re getting one, take a last look at the beautiful N900 panoramic wallpapers. Oh, and let’s not forget the NO usb and NO standard jack – yes, even that one is messed up.

  6. Maciej

    Take an ARM netbook, shrink it to pocket size and what do you get? Nokia N900.

    It’s just that simple. You get a powerful, open device with Debian Linux on board which fits in your pocket, you can get it anywhere and do anything you can do with your PC. Even better, it has built in 3G GSM modem with which you can access the Internet, make calls, send and receive SMS, even MMS messages.

    Perhaps Nokia haven’t seen N900 as a mobile computer, but just as a smartPHONE. They were focused too much on iPhone and it’s PHONE functionality. I haven’t bought N900 because it’s a good phone (which it isn’t, and could be much better). I bought it because it’s GREAT, FANTASTIC mobile computer which I can get with me anywhere. It is not tied to Google or to my phone operator, I can access my own services on my server and I don’t get stupid crap pushed down my throat or crippled functionality. That’s why I love it. And it runs Debian, which I also use on my computers, that means I don’t need to change habits, fiddle with different file formats. I can even run native applications from my PC on my phone, like Gnumeric, Pidgin, vim, heck, I can even put entire Easy Debian stack on it and run OpenOffice. Or I can use X forwarding and access applications on my home computer from my phone. Show me an Android phone that can do that.

    1. Marcin Juszkiewicz

      Sorry but for me “N900 is not a phone it is a internet tablet” is a bullshit. It runs crazy Nokia mix of Debian derived packages which consists lot of obsolete versions. SDK is full of hacks and crazy ideas so at the end testing of application has to be done on device itself.

      There is no way to run alternative OS on it due to basic components being closed — no battery information if !Maemo is running. So called “EasyDebian” is just chroot running in XTerminal which has all windows run inside of hildon.

      Accessing other services requires community software which is not always working — try to sync PIM data with SyncML servers for example…

      To access other machines graphically people invented RDP and VNC protocols. Software for it is available for nearly every platform which I had something to do.

      And sorry, but N900 is not shrinked ARM netbook – I have such one here at desk and 10″ screen can’t be beaten. It is even able to use N900 as slave for accessing Internet. And has normal web browsers, usable email clients etc.

      1. Dawid Lorenz

        Marcin, you’re all right, but also a bit picky, I think. It’s all about a specific context anyway. I agree with Maciej that N900 is in fact a miniature Linux box with phone app added as an extra and I totally buy that. On the other hand, I believe you’re quite deeply involved in Linux development so you’re looking at it from slightly different perspective, not being particularly happy about this and that – and I respect that too.

        For me, I love my N900 for being a Linux box that Maciej mentioned, giving me great hack’ish opportunities, but on the other hand I hate it as a day-to-day mobile phone, being sluggish, unresponsive and unfriendly in basic tasks.

        1. Marcin Juszkiewicz

          When N900 was first announced (Maemo summit 2008) it was told that it will be a tablet with 3G data only modem. And such device would what Maciej described — ARM netbook shrank to fit in pocket.

          But they added phone functionality and sold it as a phone. For tablet I would accept sluggish behaviour, long application start time or those blinks when app starts but not opened main window yet. Sorry, but when my phone calls and I see “important person name” on screen I want to answer call and talk — not wait until device will decide that all those touchscreen presses on green button should be processed…

          1. Dawid Lorenz

            I don’t think Nokia ever intentionally marketed N900 as a “phone” but “mobile computer”. I think that phone app tucked into N900 was its biggest curse, really, as mass-market people have simple perception of “Nokia == phones”, so when they released “internet tablet with phone”, mass-market suddenly took it just as a “phone” and then got disappointed quite badly. Very narrow number of users, mostly geeks and Linux fans, are really able to appreciate N900 as it is. The question is – would Nokia learn the lesson finally and make Harmattan in a way where both geeks and mass-market users will get satisfaction, or is this going to be another “beta” product that won’t impress anyone? Time will tell…

  7. nLL

    I can’t wait for N9 but I’m afraid it will be like any other meamo device and will be abandoned with in a year. To me Nokia looks like they have no idea what they want to do. I even lost confidence in Meego

      1. Bec

        Got a nice launcher idea? I really can’t decide, they all fail to organize the app drawer…

        So far I like the Galaxy S / ADW because there’s no endless scrolling, but I’d like something like the LGs have, with categories in the drawer.

        1. ned

          folder organizer!

          i put one icon on a homescreen and from there i can sort all my apps into categories. Its nice and fast and highly customizable. pure android fun that is.

  8. Peet

    I was a Maemo supporter but chose not to buy the N900, having seen how Nokia abandons both hardware and platforms.. shame because I used like Nokia.

    Two years ago Nokia figured Internet Tablets were dead (and persuaded Reggie to switch his internettablettalk.com site to maemo.org.. smart eh?) and Maemo was the future.

    Guess what, Maemo is dead and tablets are all the rage!

    And Noktel’s meego… it only runs on a handful of self-converted x86 netbooks…

    I can see an increasing number of Android devices of all kind around me, but none of them promise the openness and full user control I was expecting by now, something like an updated N8x0 (or larger tablet, with or without the mobile radios).

    So now there are more and more tablets available but no proper tablet OS to run on them.

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