Sunday, December 18, 2005

Motorola missing the Opportunity?

It has been almost 6 months since I bought Motorola A768i. Great phone it is, I must say. I also have strong respect for the company which delivered such a great phone, namely Motorola (and the ones that have strong components inside, namely MontoVista Linux and QT for Qtopia). They have really impressed me with the existing feature on the phone and some of the ways in which the device work very well(closing the flip pauses the video being played, but keep the audio file play on, isn't it cool ?) but there is something Motorola has been very bad at: promoting the PDA as a programmable device.

When I bought the Linux PDA, I did think that I would at sometime or other port some apps to the phone, and thought by the time I want to do it tools would come through, sadly they have not. Motorola hasn't published a single document about how the phone can be programmed. Okay there are ways to get Java Programs to run on the PDA but thats not sufficient/optimal.

The lack of good softwares for my PDA can only be blamed on Motorola, I donot see any possibility of adding any QT based app or porting any Linux game to my phone. Wouldn't the phone be more usable if we could just port some games like Soltaire or Same Gnome or Gnu Chess (Nir u there? ;)) or some app to upload our photos to some server like flickr.com directly?

Given the GUI is in Qtopia (QT for embedded) it surprizes me why it should be difficult to port some simple programs to the phone. I have earlier worked on a Symbian Series 60 phone (3660) for my camera phone based mosaicing project and have really appreciated the concept of programmability of a cellphone, which is what Nokia has done on its websites like http://forum.nokia.com by providing some documentation for getting started, or for knowing about the system architecture, or some sample code etc.

Now when Nokia eyes PDA on Linux, I really hope to have some good programming IDE for that. The concept is quite simple (at least to speak about :)).
1) You need to call GCC with the architecture specific options,
2) test/debug the code on a software simulator for that architecture and
3) have ways to just send the binary across the wire to the actual device.
Nokia has already done it providing some great Nokia SDK on Windows (Linux version is still not available), which plugs quite well with Borland C++ BuilderX for which I had to use a trial version.

I heard a GTK based engine called is already available for coding applications on Nokia's 770 Table. Anybody has any idea what can be done for developing Qtopia based apps for Motorola A768i phone ?

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