Interview with Tam Hanna, CEO of Tamoggemon on Symbian^3
Here’s an interview with Tam Hanna, the founder, CEO and head developer of Tamoggemon about his views on Symbian^3 and Qt. Tam, as always has been very candid and outspoken about his experiences with Symbian. Some of his comments are highly technical and more tuned towards the developer but nevertheless very interesting overall. In a nutshell, Qt has improved the development experience greatly, but there’s more to be done. There is a strong integration of Ovi as one should expect, considering its the focal point of Nokia’s mobile business in the coming years. With Qt being released every quarter or six months, we will hopefully see periodicity in software updates for Symbian^3 devices. The image below shows Tamoggemon’s latest game, BallZ developed using Qt, running on both a Symbian 5th edition phone, N97 Mini and a Maemo (now MeeGo) device, the N900.
1. Tell us about your experience with Symbian^3?
I have not had too much hands-on time with Symbian 3 as of this writing. I did have some hands-on timer with a Nokia N8, but cannot comment further as this was unofficial.
However, the OS looks sensible to me.
2. Will Tamogemmon’s applications run out of the box on Symbian^3 or is there are porting work involved?
I have been able to test LocaNote, and can say that it will run out of the box MOSTLY. I say mostly, because some parts of the GUI system don’t work perfectly and need to be reworked especially due to the way Nokia handles events from the capacitive screen. And, the improved landscape mode also needs some more “engineering” to make it look as good as it should.
Once again, the product works. But it is not perfect; but this is unsurprising, as the drawing engine of LocaNote is heavily optimized.
The “landscape mode eeker” was a bit disappointing, as almost every application currently on the market uses more than two CBA buttons. Nokia should have invested more energy into that – as it looks now, their implementation works but looks ugly.
3. How has Qt enhanced the development experience?
Greatly. You can see the attached image, which, btw, is the first-ever public appearance of JezzBall for Maemo.
It makes porting really easy. Even porting to new, yet unconquered platforms is possible…but more on that another day.
4. What’s are your favorite features in Symbian^3 as a developer and as a user?
From an user point of view, it is definitely the improved use of screen real estate in landscape mode.
As a developer, its probably the significantly stronger integration of Ovi. For example, if you look for a theme, you automatically see an Ovi icon telling you “there’s more on Ovi”.
I know that quite a few of you will now expect me to state that I consider the integration of the Qt libraries a must. But I have to admit that this is not as serious as it is perceived by many: keep in mind that Nokia is legally obliged to release an update to Qt at least once every 12 months to prevent loosing the rights to the product.
Given that Nokia tends to push out a new version every three to six months (please kill 4.6.3 already – the UI in 4.6.2 worked a lot better), every library would be outdated by the time it hits the ROMs of user handsets anyways.
5. Tell us about the improved Graphics architecture on Symbian^3 and how you will leverage it for your applications?
Probably not. At Tamoggemon’s, we see ourselves as a business application developer rather than a games house.
So it is very unlikely that we will ever need advanced 3D visualization, etc.
6. How does Symbian^3 compare with other Smartphone OS – iOS 4 and Android 2.2
Beats iOS 4 IMHO – if just because there will be devices with QWERTY keyboards.
As for Android, I don’t really know as I didn’t have enough hands-on time with the platform yet.