New documents at maemo.org

Nokia just published two new documents for Maemo, the Help Framework HOWTO and the HOWTO: Customizing and theming Maemo. The first one is useful for developers who want to have online help in their applications while the latter one will be an interesting read for all of us who want to configure the appearance of their GUI on the Nokia 770. Any operators that want to carry the 770 might also be interested in customizing the GUI, as they can then put their own logos into the bootup, customize the colours of the GUI and so on. Probably this move supports Nokia's attempts to make cellular/wireless operators interested in the device.

GUI customization is certainly something I'd like to try out - in the desktop X environment I used to spend long evening hours just tweaking the colours and transparencies on my terminals... A few weeks ago I tried the 770 SDK (scratchbox etc developer tools). It was easy to create a simple Gtk+ GUI (I tried out Gtk+ in my early Linux years), but I haven't had regular access to the device so more serious development efforts are waiting for the future. I'm planning to extend the functionality of my Lightget system with the 770, and it would be both interesting and very useful to work on the calendar/alarm/sync functionalities with GPE software. However that is a part that has already received attention and is not too trivial to solve, so one more hand in development, working irregularly on freetime might not mean any sudden advance in the field.

Currently everybody is holding their breath for the upcoming 2006 software update to the 770. This is supposed to add VoIP functionality (I need to buy a BT headset then!) and instant messaging to the platform. (SMS should be rather simple to implement too, I wonder if anybody has done that already?) Some API changes are coming with the next software versions, so developers are wondering if there is going to be a prerelease of the new software, so that 3rd party applications could support the new OS version from day one.

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