Tag Archives: Meego/Harmattan
Yesterday, Opera Software released an official Opera Mobile build for the Nokia N9 and N950 Harmattan phones. It's available from the Nokia Store or as a deb package download from Opera. Compared with the 3rd party modified version of Opera Mobile 11 for MeeGo that's been available for sometime, this one offers the following improvements:
- Upgrade to Opera Mobile 11.5
- Auto-rotation support (in all four orientations)
- Buttons near the bottom edge of the screen behave properly
- The Internet connection dialog will be opened if you attempt to browse the web while not connected to the Internet
This is an Opera Labs Beta release. Known issues with this release are:
- This build (like the previous Opera Mobile 11 MeeGo ARM developer preview) is not optimised to conserve power — if you load a webpage with animations and leave Opera running, your battery will continue to drain, even when Opera Mobile is running in the background and/or the screen is turned off
- The system on-screen keyboard is not supported
- Adobe Flash and other plugins are not supported
- HTML5 video is not supported
- Haptic feedback/vibration is not supported
Unfortunately I no longer have an N9 so I can't give my first hand impressions of the new release. The screenshot above is of the older unofficial Opera Mobile 11 build running on an N9. Hopefully some N9 or N950 owners will chime in with comments detailing their experiences running Opera Mobile 11.5
My favorite eBook reader is now available for Symbian 5th Ed. and later and MeeGo/Harmattan. It's FBReader, which I started using around 2005 on a Sharp Zaurus Linux PDA. FBReader is open source software that runs on just about every Linux based portable platform including Android and Maemo as well as on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows PCs.
The Symbian and MeeGo/Harmattan versions are labeled as Betas with the disclaimer that aren't production quality. A production release for both platforms is due by the end of 2011. Although there are some minor annoyances, FBReader for Symbian is already very usable. It supports the ePub and FB2 formats. I tried several books in each format they all worked well including images and proper formatting. FBReader on other platorms supports additional formats including HTML, Plucker, PalmDoc, zTxt, TCR, CHM, RTF in addition to ePub and FB2, so I imagine those will be added to the Symbian and MeeGo versions eventually.
The FBReader Symbian version's feature set is similar to that of the Android version. It can open eBook files from any directory in the file system and has an online library feature that lets you search for and download books from Feedbooks, ManyBooks, Smashwords and other online sources. You can your other network libraries that support the OPDS standard. There's a full text search function and table of contents support, but no bookmarks or annotations. The Android version supports bookmarks and I expect the Symbian and NeeGo ones will at some point as well.
There are plenty of configuration options too. You can change fonts, margins, justification, line spacing, text and,background colors and the scrolling method (tapping or swiping either the left and right or top and bottom edges or by using the volume rocker).
Although it's a Beta, and there are some missing features, FBReader seems fast and reliable on the N8. It's great to finally have a native Symbian book reader that supports online libraries and ePub, the most widely supported open format for eBooks.
Download FBeader tor Symbian and MeeGo from fbreader.org.
I had to send the N9 back to NokiaConnects on Friday as my two week trial was up. Before returning the phone I installed Firefox Mobile on the N9 and created this video showing the installation process and Firefox mobile running on the device.
Firefox Mobile on MeeGo/Harmattan is not an official release from Mozilla. Luckily for us a developer named shmerl has packaged the latest Firefox Mobile nightly build for Harmattan and posted a link to it on forum.meego.com.
Here's how to install Firefox mobile on your N9 or N950.
Download Shmerl's latest build. You can find it on his download server at shmerl.freeshell.net/dev/fennec/meego_harmattan/nightly/ or at My-Meego.com. The version I downloaded was labeled as 9.0 but I see that there is now a new 10.0 release available which includes a fix for a sync bug. You can follow the progress of Firefox for Harmattan and find installation and configuration tips, changelogs and announcements of new releases in this forum-meego.com thread.
Installing Firefox mobile using the N9 browser doesn't work. It looks like the download server is using the wrong mime type causing the browser to display the binary file as text gobbledygook with no way to save it. You have to download Firefox to a PC and copy the file to the N9 using a cable and the phone's USB mass storage mode.
By default Harmattan only allows apps to be installed from the Nokia Store. To allow installing apps from the file system: Open Settings, go to “Applications”, tap “Installations” and tap “Allow installations from non-store sources” to enable it
Once the file is on the device fire up a file manager. The N9 doesn't come with one, I used the free File Mangaer Beta from the Nokia Store. Navigate to the folder where you saved the Firefox Mobile .deb file and tap the filename to install.
I found Firefox Mobile was stable on the N9 with competivite page loading speed and rendering. Its best features are support for the thousands of Firefox Mobile Add-ons and also Firefox Sync, which keeps your bookmarks, history, passwords and open tabs synchronized with Firefox on all your PCs and phones. I can live with the quirky Firefox Mobile UI, although I don't see that it has any advantages over a typical tab and menu driver browser interface. But I'm disappointed that Firefox Mobile doesn't reflow text after zooming.
Using the N9 was a great experience, I will definitely miss it. The N9's hardware is nice but what really sets it apart is the Linux based MeeGo/Harmattan OS's openness, powerful multitasking and the Swipe user interface. Swipe is the first really great new mobile UI I've seen since the original iPhone. To me the N9 heralds the return of Nokia's design and engineering excellence after the stumbles of the last few years. I'm very disappointed in Nokia's decision to end MeeGo development and limit the N9's distribution to relatively few countries.
21-Feb-2012 Opera Software released an official Opera Mobile build for the Nokia N9 and N950 Harmattan phones. It's available from the Nokia Store or as a deb package download from Opera. Installing the modified version as described below is no longer necessary or recommended.
31-Jan-2012 Updated post with working download link. I like the N9 Browser (see my review). It's fast and has great HTML5 support. But I'm a browser junkie and have to try every browser I can find. When I discovered a version of Opera Mobile 11.0 for MeeGo/Harmattan on my-meego.com I knew I had to install it on my N9 review unit from NokiaConnects.
It turns out that Opera for the N9/N950 isn't an official Opera Software release. It's a third party repackaging of the Opera Labs "developer preview" for MeeGo Comunity Edition (CE) on the Nokia N900. MeeGo CE uses the .rpm application package format rather than MeeGo/Harmattan's .deb so Opera's build won't install on the N9 without modification. A couple of developers named XeN and sandst1 have extracted the contents of Opera's .rpm and repackaged them as a .deb which is what is available on my-meego.com.
The repackaged .deb isn't fully compatible with MeeGo/Harmattan's installer so some extra steps are needed to get Opera Mobile running on the N9. Here's what you need to do:
Download Opera Mobile. The links on my-meego.com and sandst1's blog point to
hotfile.com/dl/125308477/580c6be/operamobile_11.00-1_armel.deb.html. Hotfile.com is one of those non-mobile friendly free file sharing sites with a countdown timer and a captcha. It is possible to download the file using the N9's browser but it's easier to download it to a PC and transfer it to the N9 over USB. Update 31-Jan-2012: The Hotfile link isn't working anymore. You can download my copy of the file from here. The instructions below assume that the file is saved in the N9's default download directory, /home/user/MyDocs/Downloads (which appears as /MyDocs/Downloads on a USB connected PC).
Unlike most N9 app .deb files, Opera Mobile can't be installed automatically with the browser or by clicking on it in a file manager. You need to enable developer mode and install it using the dpkg command in the terminal as the root user. Thanks to Meego/Harmattan's openness that's easy. Here's how:
Enable Developer Mode: Go to Settings > Security > Developer Mode and slide the developer mode toggle to the on position. Take note of and accept the warning. The first time you enable developer mode the N9 will download some files (so you need a network connection) and reboot.
Launch the Terminal: When Developer Mode is enabled, a Terminal icon appears on the N9's Applications home screen (image below, left). Tap it to launch the terminal.
Become root (superuser): The command to become root in Meego/Harmattan is "devel-su". The default password is "rootme". So type the following:
The shell prompt will change from $ to # to indicate that your are now the root user.
Change to the download directory: Type:
Install the Opera mobile package: Type:
dpkg - i operamobile*
The install only takes a few seconds. A bunch of messages will fly across the screen. When the # prompt returns the install is complete and you can exit the terminal, turn off developer mode and launch Opera Mobile.
Uninstalling Opera Mobile: You can't remove Opera the normal way in Settings > Applications. Instead you need to use dpkg in the terminal. After enabling Developer Mode and becoming root in the terminal type:
dpkg -r operamobile
Which uninstalls Opera but leaves settings, bookmarks etc., intact so they will be available if you ever re-install. If you want to remove Opera completely use dpkg -P. which purges all traces of Opera from the system by typing in the terminal as root.
dpkg -P operamobile
Here's a video showing the full installation process along with a demo of Opera Mobile in action on the N9.
Running Opera Mobile: The unofficial release works pretty well. All the normal Opera Mobile features that are missing from the N9 default browser like bookmark sync, text reflow after zooming, copying text from web pages, copy/paste in web forms, scrolling text areas and using bookmarklets work perfectly. Unfortunately, there are a couple of issues. On the N9 Opera Mobile is landscape only. It doesn't auto rotate and there's no portrait/landscape mode in the options. More seriously, the onscreen menu button, which is the only way to open the menu for access to bookmarks, tabs and the start page, tends to stop working after a while. See the video for a demonstration of this bug.
Except for those two issues, Opera Mobile works very well. I'm hoping that Opera will release an official, fully functional version of Opera Mobile 11 for MeeGo/Harmattan as I'd really like to use it as my main browser on the N9.
Opera Mobile 11 in action on the Nokia N9 (click to zoom):