AUG
15
2006

Trolltech Greenphone Lust

I've just read about the forthcoming Greenphone with a Qtopia development kit. If I can port Qt4 QtRuby to it, I want one right now! I could hack together custom apps to access web services like google via GPRS. It has 64 Mb of RAM and 128 Mb of flash, with expansion slot which sounds as though it should be enough to fit a QtRuby development environment. Does it take standard sims, or can you only use it with certain service providers?

I only bought my first ever mobile phone a couple of weeks ago, a Nokia 1600 and I think it's brilliant. It was only 50 Euros or so, and I'm completely blown away how many features such a cheap device has - colour screen with easy to use GUI, contacts list, sms messages etc. I never wanted one before because I don't like phones at work much, as I find them very distracting. I thought having one in your pocket permanently on would make me feel like a doctor on call, but it's actually really good being able to ring up anyone at any time to talk to them or arrange to meet. I find relative to how many things you can do with it, it's very easy to use, and it really shows up how crap the average computer interface is by comparison (even KDE). I think a lot of the reason is that it doesn't have resizable windows that you have to keep fussing and mussing with, and it has some dedicated keys for accessing the menus.

I wouldn't have bothered until British Telecom disconnected my phone in the UK because my useless bank, Nat West cancelled the standing order. They cancel a random set of direct debits when you accidentally exceed your overdraft limit, aiming to teach you a lesson or something. When I tried to ring them up and sort it out from abroad they told me you couldn't set up telephone banking by telephone, and they would have to mail me the paperwork, and it would take 10 working days, although they couldn't mail to outside the UK anyway.. So I just lost control of my finances, and nearly got taken to court to have my house repossessed. I think you can use the internet to access your Nat West account details, but they only mail the password to my UK address. So anyway, a big thankyou to Nat West and BT for making me ditch land lines, I can't see myself ever bothering with one again. I'd love to abandon 20th century style banking Nat West style ASAP, and never want to be sent bits of paper through the post ever again..

The only slight disappointment is that I assume the Greenphone is only available in green - I'd love a white one that matched my new MacBook. Green looks a bit military to me.

Comments

Where could I get one of these? :)


By arand at Tue, 08/15/2006 - 11:25

It actually uses Qtopia, which is different from Qt.

Last time I looked at it it was around the Qt3.2 days and back then Qtopia was still based on Qt2 technology. I'm curious to know how Qtopia is comparable to Qt4 nowadays.

I agree with you on the paper+snail mail stuff; I really love my bank (ABN Amro) which has a really good online banking that worked in Konqueror for years already. These guys know what they are doing :)
Funny detail is that I was in the bank office some time ago (by exception, I have to say) and some women was going bonkers over the bank employee only willing to help her use the internet-terminal they had setup. She wanted the bank employee to do it for her instead (for free, naturally). I guess if there are enough people like that a bank will get the impression automation is unwanted.

Cheers!


By Thomas Zander at Tue, 08/15/2006 - 12:41

It's now synched up with Qt 4. That's been talked about for years...


By Scott Wheeler at Wed, 08/16/2006 - 10:57

As far as I know, the APIs are identical.

They replaced the backends for the framebuffer, keyboard and mouse drivers and you can specify alternatives (touchscreen or mouse, etc.). Also, it's A LOT more configurable then standard Qt4. Every feature (besides the absolute core) can be removed and all of that feature's dependencies will be removed too.

In src/corelib/global/ there's a couple of sample profiles (qconfig-XXX.h) which generates different sized qt libraries. You can change qconfig-local.h to give you exactly the right features you need.

I think it's important to find out first what configuration qtopia phone edition is using before starting to develop. It might be missing some features you take for granted in standard qt.

Cheers,
Ben


By bensch at Sun, 08/20/2006 - 09:36

Thanks for the info, it seems that getting the bindings working with the full Qtopia Core api won't be too hard, but most of the work will be cutting down the memory requirement. I've downloaded the Qtopia Core package for Qt 4.2 tp1, and I'll get that working with the Smoke library as a first step, and look at way to coordinate the smoke lib generation with the configuration size of Qtopia.


By Richard Dale at Sun, 08/20/2006 - 21:27

We definitely should have one to port Smoke to it :-)


By thomas moenicke at Tue, 08/15/2006 - 22:35

Yes, I agree, and porting the Ruby, PHP or Mono specific parts shouldn't be too hard.

I'll download the latest Qtopia phone edition today and see what's in it. The Smoke library for Qt 4.2 tp1 is huge and has about 470 classes and 15000 methods, which seems completely over the top for programming a phone. So maybe we could have a development environment on a laptop where the smoke lib covered the entire api, but generate a custom one for the actual phone that only had the classes used by the apps you wanted to install.

The advantages of using PHP or Ruby would be faster development, smaller apps (just text files), and much better support for accessing dynamic web services where C++ really isn't very suitable.

And I'd like to mess around with custom apps sending sms messages to each other, I don't know if there are any apps that do that sort of thing already, but it should be easy to come up with useful things.

It should be possible to install a WiFi card in the slot from what I can find out. It would use too much battery power to leave in all the time, but perhaps you could slot it in only when you wanted to use WiFi. I assume the little slots are plug and play.


By Richard Dale at Wed, 08/16/2006 - 09:31

And probably the same apps could run on the Desktop if they are not using some phone specific functions? Sounds good. I'll have a look at the latest Qtopia phone edition, too.
Now I'm going to find a sponsor for a greenphone ;-)


By thomas moenicke at Wed, 08/16/2006 - 10:32