Is today a big day, or what! Amazon’s Android App Store will be released today. The much-delayed Firefox 4 is also slated to officially arrive soon. And now, Opera Software has made what is possibly the biggest product launch in its history. Opera Mini 6 and Opera Mobile 11 have been released for as many as six different platforms. Here’s a quick summary of the new stuff from the Norwegian browser vendor:
Opera Mini 6 for Java
Opera Mini 6 for Android
Opera Mini 6 for Symbian
Opera Mini 6 for legacy Symbian (S60 v2)
Opera Mini 6 for Blackberry
Opera Mobile 11 for Android
Opera Mobile 11 for Symbian
Opera Mobile 11 for Windows 7 (tablets and touch-screen devices)
Opera Mobile 11 for Meego
While Opera might be the little guy in the desktop segment, it is the king of mobile browsers. It already has more than 100 million users worldwide, and the number just keeps on increasing. Opera Mobile is Opera Software’s full-fledged mobile browser, which uses the same rendering engine (Presto) as Opera for desktop, and brings a desktop-like browsing experience to mobile devices. Opera Mini was originally developed for budget phones, which didn’t meet the hardware and software requirements of Opera Mobile. In Opera Mini, the webpage is routed through Opera’s servers, where all the rendering is done, and a static and highly compressed representation of the page is sent to the browser.
There are quite a few exciting improvements in both the products. The first thing that will catch your attention is the new skin. The bright shades of red, which have been a part of Opera’s mobile offerings for a long long time, have been replaced by a sleek black gradient.
Also new is the “Share” option, which enable you to quickly share a link through Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. The lack of sharing options was one of my major grievances with Opera Mobile 10 for Android, and I am glad that Opera Software has rectified this rather quickly.
Unsurprisingly, Opera’s mobile offerings are now optimized for high-resolution devices like tablets. This bit was already demoed at SXSW and MWC, and now you can try it yourself. Scrolling, panning, and zooming should be a lot smoother than before, and pinch-to-zoom support is included in all devices that are capable of supporting it.
All versions of Opera Mini and Opera Mobile can be downloaded directly on your mobile phone from m.opera.com.
Despite the hoopla with Nokia and Microsoft partnering and disregarding the previously rumored talks of Nokia slowing development of MeeGo down, it would appear that Nokia has actually decided to dedicate another team to work at officially bringing MeeGo with a Handset UXto the Nokia N900.
Jukka Eklund, who is the Product Manager for MeeGo at Nokia, sent out an e-mail to the MeeGo development mailing list outlining the changes and plans for the near future;
I am thrilled to announce a little thing we started at Nokia. Basically we want to have MeeGo running in N900 device, so that it’s really usable as your daily development device. Basic Handset UX should work, phone calls, SMS, web browsing. So we are concentrating on a few selected features and polish those to be "perfect". It might mean that we leave out some things in MeeGo 1.2 trunk for this edition, but that is not the default intention.
We are doing this fully on the open, and I hope this is an interesting project where we all in the community work towards the same goal: have a great MeeGo edition in the N900. This work is naturally based on the great work done already by N900 adaptation team lead by Harri and Carsten.
The amount of developers and resources being put into the project are not being disclosed and while the existing N900 adaptation team is an integral partof the project, some are celebrating the rebirth and are taking this as a revitalization of Nokia’s MeeGo work while others, more notably, Intel folk are showing their concern in taking such a task seriously. Intel’s Senior Staff Software Engineer, Adriaan van de Ven rebutted with his thoughts;
I would like to urge you to push on this; we’ve been bitten rather badly in MeeGo in the past in this respect (promising of features as part of architecture choices, but then never getting those open sourced), and I’m sure that you, as the lead of this new project, can fix a bunch of these; after all it sounds like you’re serious about MeeGo.
The team hopes to bring MeeGo 1.2 to the unwashed masses in form of a Developer Editionwith the functionality of calls, SMS and web browsing. Whether or not this means Nokia plans on healthy development of MeeGo or simply providing minimal resources to keep the project alive is really and truly unknown. Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, previously stated that Symbian is here to staybut also mentioned MeeGo being a disruptive technologyfor future trends and investments. The future of MeeGo is currently blowing in the proverbial wind.
Nokia’s decision to switch from Symbian to Windows Phone 7 as its primary OS has sparked a lot of active discussion in the blogosphere. The reactions have ranged from approval to enragement to disgust. We have also seen a few conspiracy theories floating around which claim that Elop, a former Microsoft executive was planted at Nokia for this very reason.
Many have also argued that it would make more sense for Nokia to go with Android, which has a much bigger developer following and a much larger library of apps than Windows Phone 7. It seems that Nokia has definitely taken that into account before making the decision to go with Microsoft.
Today, it sent out an email which is meant to appease developers for Symbian and MeeGo, as well as WP7. All the developers enrolled in Launchpad, a mobile developer program by Nokia will receive a free Nokia E7 as well as a free Windows Phone 7 device by Nokia, so that they can start developing apps for them soon.
Nokia has also thrown in a few more freebies like free access to the Nokia World Summit, free tech support for 3 months (limited to 10 support tickets) and a free User Experience evaluation of apps. It is also providing Business Development support and will help developers in getting their apps published on the Ovi Store.
Nokia finally announced its strategic partnership with Microsoft, that would use their strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem. Nokia also shocked everyone by announcing that, Windows Phone would be their “primary software platform”. It does not mean that Symbian and Meego are dead, since Nokia is expecting to sell more than 150 million Symbian devices in the coming years. Nokia also confirmed that the Meego based smartphone would be launched, later this year. Nokia is also planning to manufacture Windows and Meego based tablets. According to the deal,
Nokia would adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.
Nokia would help drive the future of Windows Phone. Nokia would contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.
Nokia and Microsoft would closely collaborate on joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap to align on the future evolution of mobile products.
Bing would power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to Bing’s next generation search capabilities. Microsoft adCenter would provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services.
Nokia Maps would be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience
Microsoft development tools would be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem’s global reach.
Nokia’s content and application store would be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience.
“Today, developers, operators and consumers want compelling mobile products, which include not only the device, but the software, services, applications and customer support that make a great experience,” Stephen Elop, Nokia President and CEO, said at a joint news conference in London. “Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale. It’s now a three-horse race.”
“I am excited about this partnership with Nokia,” said Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft CEO. “Ecosystems thrive when fueled by speed, innovation and scale. The partnership announced today provides incredible scale, vast expertise in hardware and software innovation and a proven ability to execute.”
Nokia also announced the extensive operator billing agreements, which will allow the consumers to easily purchase the Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low. The Nokia-Microsoft ecosystem targets to deliver differentiated and innovative product to the consumers.
Nokia is expected to launch the Meego based Nokia N9 smartphone at the end of this year. According to the rumors, Nokia N9 would be the first and the last Meego powered smartphone to be manufactured by Nokia. Windows Phone 7 was launched back in October and the sales are not as per the expectations. Do you think Nokia made the right move by joining hands with Microsoft? Or Nokia should have selected Android as its primary operating system? Let us know your interesting views in the comments below.
As if the “Burning Platform” internal memo from Nokia wasn’t enough, we have another interesting rumor doing the rounds on the internet. Reuters is reporting that Nokia may be ready to drop the Nokia N9, its first MeeGo powered smartphone.
Apparently, sources close to the company have claimed that Nokia plans to ditch further development of the Nokia N9, which has already been delayed a lot. With Symbian already being considered an outdated OS, Nokia’s hopes rested on the MeeGo OS, on which it partnered with Intel. But according to the leaked memo, even Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, doesn’t seem to have much faith in it.
“We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market.”
Nokia may be planning to adopt another mobile OS, likely Windows Phone 7, as many recent rumors have pointed to. We should know more about it on February 11, at the Capital Market Day event.
However, I don’t think that moving over to Windows Phone 7 would be a very good move. Even the existing phones by Samsung, HTC and LG haven’t been able to differentiate themselves from the rest. Android seems to be a much more sensible choice, considering its popularity.
Maybe it’s just me, but if Nokia could create dual booting smartphones which run both Android and MeeGo, that would be really awesome, at least for the gadget geek community.
The Finnish giant Nokia is currently on a sinking ship Symbian. In the last year, Symbian was the most criticized mobile OS despite its market leadership. Many Nokia loyalists all over the world are eagerly waiting for the next generation of Maemo to arrive, namely MeeGo. Now, the folks over at GSMArena have dug out a picture from the Mobile-Review forums of what is apparently a handset running on MeeGo.
The handset shown above in the picture can very well be the Nokia N9 which will hopefully be announced by Nokia at the upcoming MWC (Mobile World Congress) in Barcelona. From the leaked pictures, the screen size of the handset looks to be around 4-inches. The handset also sports a 3-axis gyroscope along with an accelerometer. A few days ago, rumored specs of the N9 popped up on the Internet suggesting that the handset will be packing a 1.2 GHz Intel processor.
Hopefully, Nokia will announce a MeeGo based handset at the MWC thus killing all these rumors. In fact, Nokia must announce a MeeGo based handset at MWC. Right now, most Nokia loyalists have pinned their hopes on the MeeGo and delaying the launch of a handset running MeeGo will not help Nokia at all. MeeGo is also being touted by some as the comeback vehicle for Nokia.
Only time will tell whether MeeGo will help kill all the negativity surrounding Nokia/Symbian or not.
At the CES 2011, Nokia did not announce any new product or services. It is expected that Nokia will announce some killer devices at the upcoming MWC 2011. One of the handsets expected to be announced by the Finnish giant is the Nokia N9 the first phone which will be running on MeeGo.
Now a Finnish website is reporting that the Nokia N9 is expected to sport some killer internal specifications. Apparently, The N9 will be sporting a 1.2GHz Intel Atom CPU. However, I seriously doubt if this is going to be true. An Atom processor will eat up the battery of the phone in no time, and the Atom processors are based on the X86 architecture.
I guess the site is talking about the Intel Moorestown platform here which is closely based on the Intel Atom processor.
The site also suggests that the MeeGo handset will feature the same 12MP camera as found on the N8. Until the official announcement from Nokia itself, this news is too good to be true for me. The last rumor is that the N9 will sport 4G LTE antennas as well. However, the source says they are not too sure about it.
The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is less than a month from now. Only then we will know whether these rumors turn out to be true or not. Until then, I will suggest readers to gobble up all this information with a pinch of salt.
Steve Straughton the guy who got MeeGo v1.1 up and running on a HTC HD2 has come up with another awesome hack. He has managed to get the Nokia’s highly anticipated MeeGo OS running on the Google Nexus S. For getting the MeeGo OS to run on their Nexus S, users need to flash a custom kernel.
After that, they need to use the fastboot feature to boot the MeeGo OS on their handset using a rootfs image file. Users can also dual-boot between MeeGo and Gingerbread, if they wish to do so.
Now the million dollar question which is usually associated with these hacks What works and what does not? Except for adb root access and the UI apps, nothing works – Touchscreen, Wi-Fi, data, calls, GPS – nothing. In fact, the SAMOLED screen brightness control option also does not work, which means users will have a tough time to see what’s being displayed on screen.
Nexus S owners who are interested in running MeeGo OS on their handset can find the installation steps here.
Both Nokia (Symbian) and Microsoft (Windows Phone 7) have been hit hard by the rise of Android as a smartphone OS in the last 2 years. Symbian has been continuously losing marketshare to Android, even in the budget category of smartphones. Even Windows Phone 7 hasn’t seen very encouraging sales, thanks to Android’s domination. Android is probably in the smartphone world what Windows is in the PC world. However, Android has one huge advantage – it’s free and open. And everyone knows that you cannot beat “free” unless you offer a very compelling product which is better in every way, which Windows Phone 7 is definitely not.
Nokia has already stated that it won’t be using Android as the OS for its smartphones anytime in the near future. It is relying on MeeGo to give a boost to its lagging sales in 2011. But MeeGo is still not ready for a final release.
Eldar Murtazin at Mobile Review has commented in his weekly editorial piece that Nokia is planning to team up with Microsoft and launch smartphones running with Windows Phone 7 under the Nokia brand. While it may sound ridiculous at first, given Eldar’s track record, I can’t help but think that it might turn out to be true.
Even if this rumor does turn out to be true, I doubt that their alliance would be successful in curbing the growth of Android.