Community Highlights for December 2008: Part II and January 2009: Part I

2009-01-10 21:35 UTC by Ryan Abel

Apologies for the delay, the holidays consumed much more of my time than intended (I hope everybody had happy and safe ones :)), so this edition will cover December and January.

Fremantle pre-alpha

The Fremantle pre-alpha was released in the beginning of December. This release marks the beginning of a new level of openness in Nokia's development process (though we still have a very long way to go), and gives developers interesting insight into the software that will make up Maemo 5.

RX-51 Rumor Mongering

We already know a lot about the upcoming tablet: it'll use an OMAP3430, have a HD camera and HSPA connectivity, but the Fremantle pre-alpha release revealed even more interesting things about the potential hardware that weren't contained in the not-announcement from the Summit (of course all pre-release information isn't to be taken as any sort of announcement and is subject to change).


It appears that the WiFi chip is a TI model with open-source drivers. The Bluetooth chip also seems to support FM radio (like the N800), but now also includes RDS support. This means that not only can you pick up song information from the radio station, but the FM receiver can be used to grab real-time traffic data for Maemo Mapper. An FM transmitter is also included (with RDS support as well), so those of you currently fiddling with tape adaptors to get your podcast fix in the car can put them down.


There seem to be more hardware inputs and outputs than on previous tablets, both a vibration function and a 3-way accelerometer seem to be included. The kernel includes interesting code for device orientation (face-up, face-down, on-stand, etc) based on accelerometer information, which could lead to some interesting features. Say, declining a video call and muting the device by flipping it face-down on your desk?


We already know about the HD camera, the code suggests it will be of the 5MP variety, and include a flash. But there is also mention of a VGA camera that may be placed on the front of the device for video chatting functionality. Audio output should be much higher quality than previous tablets as well, thanks to a high-quality TI headphone amp.

Whatever the actual hardware may end up looking like, it currently sounds like quite a drool-worthy piece of equipment.


Progress continues to be made on Mer. The SDK has been made available, and the project is nearing release of its first demo image. Nokia has recently pledged an unprecedented (for this industry) level of support for the project in its efforts to provide a community backport of Fremantle to OMAP2 devices, and the Mer team already has ports running on N8x0s, x86 machines, and OMAP3 machines. Redesign

The work to redesign and reorganize is still ongoing. INdT recently released an early version of the CSS/HTML for the main page, and the rest of the team and Nemein have begun implementing it on the site (a live test version should be available soon).


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