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Maemo 5 SDK goes alpha

Mar 6, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

[Updated Mar. 9] — Nokia-sponsored released an alpha version of its open-source Linux distribution for tablet PCs. The Maemo 5 SDK (software development kit) alpha adds support for OMAP3 hardware acceleration, cellular connectivity, and HD cameras, along with new APIs for orientation, vibration,… and location.

(Click for larger view of Maemo 5 alpha desktop)

The alpha release is aimed at “adventurous developers,” according to the release post by Maemo's Quim Gil. It still lacks documentation, except for auto-generated API references, and the APIs remain unfrozen. In addition, multitasking support has not yet been extended to the UI. However, Maemo has released a simplified UI implementation of the Maemo 5 desktop (pictured at top) and the application menu (below). The alpha release is also said to feature 3D drivers for the PowerVR technology in the OMAP3, enabling OMAP3-based BeagleBoard and Pandora developers to get started with Maemo, says the group.

Maemo 5 application menu
(Click to enlarge)

The Maemo 5 alpha debuts five new APIs (application programming interfaces) including:

  • Location API — building location-aware applications

  • City Information — obtaining information about cities, including city name, country name, and country code

  • Time management — handling time change notifications and collecting relevant time and time zone information

  • Vibra service — triggering and controlling vibrations

  • Device orientation — responding to changes in orientation and discovering current orientation

Nokia N810
(Click for details)

Previously available but newly enhanced APIs reportedly include those for alarm, address book access, data notifications, account, battery, and logging development interfaces. Maemopad is now offered as a sample application.

Writes Gil, “The published Hildon libraries already offer the APIs developers need, but as such the APIs are still unstable and some UI features are not yet visible in this SDK.”


The Maemo 5 SDK is available now for free download in alpha format, says, which did not offer a timetable for subsequent releases. The announcement may be found here, and the release notes can be found here. A table of changes between Maemo pre-alpha and Maemo 5 alpha should be available, and source code should be here.

For more information on Maemo 5 and background on Maemo, please see our earlier coverage.

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