Like I said couple of days ago, this blog is five years old. I spent a while looking back at the old posts and I noted that I haven’t really given some topics enough space. I’ll try to cove some of those.
Today I start with the general incapability to understand handset development (the incapability of Tomi Ahonen, that is). This blog post is almost direct copy from my old blog post, I’m putting it here because it – frankly – got buried to the end of an unrelated post.
Let’s start with Nokia N950. If you don’t know what it is, it’s “the other MeeGo device”. Photo of it is available in e.g. Wikipedia.
Nokia N950 is basically the Nokia N9 MeeGo smartphone with slide-out HW QWERTY keyboard, except that it is the model that was developed before N9. Tomi Ahonen repeatedly demanded it to be launched to all markets. Problem is that after N9-00 (the product name at the time) was cancelled, all non-critical bug fixing was skipped to speed up Nokia N9 (N9-01) development. The N9-00 was later launched as N950, a developer device.
What do I mean when I say that only critical bugs were fixed? This example comes from the time I had fiddled with an N950, which was in late summer 2012. I don’t know if this issue ever was corrected and it is irrelevant for the point that things like this existed in tens and together they would have been a “no-go” for sales launch.
The example: Nokia N9 user interface (in message editing) has the “send” button rendered with the on-display touch screen keyboard. That button is gone when the keyboard is dismissed. Irrelevant for N9 but come Nokia N950 and the HW keyboard, the on-display keyboard gets dismissed always when the HW QWERTY keyboard is slid out. So if you go to messages app, get the on-screen keyboard visible, then open the HW keyboard, the send-key is gone and you can’t send your text message because there is no send-button anywhere. (Interestingly enough the send-button is visible if you enter messages UI with HW keyboard open.)
This kind of bugs are not major issues. These can be fixed. But launching N950 would need exactly the work that was not done in order to deliver Nokia N9. And that work is needed from employees who were laid off in late 2011 or at least in summer 2012. My stand in summer 2012 was that Nokia N950 wouldn’t be shipped to store shelves, ever. It was delivered to some specific SW developers that don’t care about these issues and that was it. This, however, has never been a problem for Tomi Ahonen the consultant. Here are some gems from him:
Nokia has even a ready sister phone to the N9, a QWERTY variant called the N950, both ready to manufacture and sell now.
–Tomi Ahonen, August 11, 2011 
The first N9 phones ship in September. The N950 is ready to ship now as well.
–Tomi Ahonen, August 17, 2011 
Any normally intelligent CEO who looks after Nokia’s best interest, would instantly put the N950 into full production and sell it well before Christmas – in every market – to try to recover at least some lost Symbian sales
–Tomi Ahonen, October 06, 2011 
And its sister smarpthone, the N950, also running MeeGo. Not Osborned either. Why not launch the N950 now, while there is still interest in the MeeGo OS, and as a gimmick, promise to bring Android compatibility to MeeGo (they are both running the same Linux base) so suddenly most Android apps will be compatible with these two MeeGo devices? If the Nokia CEO was really concerned about Nokia’s best interests, that is what he’d do now
–Tomi Ahonen, June 26, 2012 
Still interest in MeeGo OS? June 2012? What planet was he living in? (Let’s get to the Android compatibility in a moment, shall we?)
I’m pretty sure everybody knows the Nokia N900. Tomi Ahonen reveals us his incompetence in technology from time to time with statements like this:
older Maemo-based handset the N900 can also run MeeGo. So while its hardware is older, its camera smaller etc, that could be sold as the ‘entry-level’ model into the MeeGo line, like the older Apple iPhone 3GS is the cheapest model in Apple’s iPhone range.
–Tomi Ahonen, December 21, 2011 
Okay, Tomi Ahonen is right in a sense: e.g. Mer (used by Jolla) runs in N900. But let’s remember that Tomi is pushing the wonderful Swipe UI of Nokia N9 to the Nokia N900. And as if that would not be enough:
Because the N9 is currently in production and selling highly profitably (and sister phones such as N950 and N900 have been produced and could be manufactured within weeks of ramp-up time)
–Tomi Ahonen, July 06, 2012 
Within weeks of ramp-up time? Sure, the UI used in Nokia N900 could in theory be rewritten to match that of Nokia N9, but weeks of ramp-up time? The UI in Nokia N9 is written with Qt, in Nokia N900 it is written with GTK+. This applies to whole lot of other stuff too.
I have to assume that Tomi intends to port entire MeeGo Harmattan OS to Nokia N900. As the CPU architecture would allow it, that could probably be done but still the full HW adaptation is needed. Next issue is that the wrong display resolution breaks the UI, you can’t just use Nokia N9 Swipe UI “as is”, new graphics and in some cases (e.g. display with lots of small texts that cannot be rendered with poorer resolution) even a new UI design is definitely needed.
The performance is poorer due to older CPU, optimization to the OS would be needed too.
And even with all the software glitches magically solved, the worst thing is not in MeeGo OS (or actually the worst thing is so bad because of the MeeGo OS): he forgets N900 has resistive display so it cannot detect multiple touch points.
So long pinch-zoom! (So long any zoom in applications where volume keys were not followed for it.)
Nokia N900 UI used “spin gesture” in browser for Zoom but there is no support for it in Nokia N9 MeeGo Harmattan, so we are talking about additional rework on top of the additional work I already mentoned for N950 (Oh yes, Nokia N900 also has QWERTY keyboard).
Tomi is so fond of the Swipe UI (who isn’t? All it really takes is a swipe), but resistive display of Nokia N900 reacts to pressure, not touch. Swipe gestures lose their idea if you can’t just slide your finger on the glass but you need to give a noticeable push for the display or the resistive touchscreen will not recognise your touch.
“All it takes is a swipe” just became “all it takes is a swipe and a stylus”.
Tomi’s claim about N900 being updated with N9 MeeGo in “weeks of ramp-up time” is without base and lunatic at best. Nokia N900 will not be the low-end sister product you wish for, sorry Tomi.
Android on Nokia N9
Tomi Ahonen drew new rock bottom on this one:
And if some independent programmers were able to do an Android port for the N9 this fast, why could Nokia not move to Android, rather than stay with Windows, and release the N900, the N9 and the N950 on Android, like next month! Like yes, in August!
–Tomi Ahonen, July 20, 2012 
Now I like to have correct figures used. And this is my area of expertice. I gave estimates for SW projects the last 3 years I worked in Nokia. I know Nokia working environment. I know this field. I know what size of extra you need for the Nokia bureaucracy. Here are more proper numbers. (Next time Tomi, use these):
Releasing Nokia N950:
3 months – assuming that Nokia still had all the MeeGo experts in the house (they didn’t) and everybody would’ve worked on the bugfixing. You see, there NEEDS TO BE mandatory test rounds.
4 months and up – assuming the people still in the house at the time Tomi wrote that (working with MeeGo PR1.3 etc.) could have been used instead (most were laid off in June, it turned out).
Releasing Nokia N9 Swipe UI on Nokia N900 (and mandatory work-arounds due to resistive display):
6 months – assuming N950 was finished first and UI fixes from there were already available. And assuming that Nokia still had all the Maemo and MeeGo experts in the house (they didn’t) and everybody would have worked on the port.
Not less than 9 months, more likely 12 – assuming People still in house would have been used instead.
Releasing N900, the N9 and the N950 on Android:
Wow, bad one – that would have been the first Android project for Nokia, so it would have started on scratch. Now let’s assume that Nokia would’ve used the existing Android port and only did the necessary bugfixing. Let’s assume they had Android experts in house. Let’s assume they had the tools and skills.
I’ll give careful estimate of 6 months for Nokia N9 and Nokia N950, as there was an existing Android port available.
For Nokia N900, one question: Does Android Jellybean run with resistive display?
Depending on answer – 12 months? 18? Really can’t tell.
Compare that to the 42 days from Tomi and you realize how clueless he is.