Nokia E50 Adventures in Linux


I’ve changed phone recently. My contract with the cellular operator has ended, and choosing between many phones was a great adventure. I do not want now a simple phone, although a battery life was crucial for me. Choosing phone, which is now a bit outdated, will be after few months a bit of a disaster. I would like to experiment with the phone. As a developer, I’m keen on taking everything and changing it to my taste. Closed hardware platform was a no-go for me (that’s why SE phones eg. K810i was discarded). Two options was one of the symbian phones (UIQ or Series60) or new option as OpenMoko or other Linux based phones. I wanted a phone, which i can actually use as a phone, thus linux platform as a not matured was also (nowadays!) left alone. Symbian was a real choice. I’ve chosen Noka E50, for it’s compact size, phony look and quite good battery life.

Of course using Nokia Data Suite was not an option for me (using linux :)), thus I’ve to make something, to connect everything(*) for me with the GNU/Linux platform

(*) that is:

– data exchange
– calendar, notes, contact synchronization
– modem communication
– installation of new software
– development of new software

Infrared Communication

There are reported many options for infrared communication. I’ve tested all tools from OpenOBEX etc. I didn’t have enough knowledge or it doesn’t work for me. Fortunately I’ve found simple, and effective solution. Ircp-tray. Great tool. With it, You can send files to the phone (sis, jar installers, music etc.). It can also receive files from phone (photos etc.). I’ve been using the latest version 0.7 and it works flawlessly.  More on the webpage.

Discovery result


Beaming progress – sending file


SIS/Jar Installation

I’m using ircp-tray for sending files. The next step is to get to the inbox on the phone and execute the installer. Voila!.

WARNING. When using old software, you have to sign it with your certificate and the tool from nokia developer sites.

SmartMovie Converter

SmartMovie converters. Put it in the ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts folder and you can choose it from the context menu in the nautilus browser. The first script is for the normal encoding, the second one takes also the subbed text from the file and embeds it in the movie. Works quite good (full time movie was compressed to ca. 100MB file).

UPDATE. New version is compatibile with FLV streams: file

YouYube FLV to SmartMovie Converter

First You have to download FLV files from youtube. It can be done by using eg. this tool: youtube-dl. Simple python script. Works great, but then you have to convert it with the FFmpeg or mencoder tool to the format acceptable by SmartMovie player. My scripts are located, but for some reason i’ve got quite big descync video with sound. I’ll investigate it ASAP.

UPDATE. New version, fully compatible with FLV and other input formats is here: smc_0.2.tar.gz

UPDATE2: Tansu Kefeli provided me an another script specially for the ffmpeg software. He’s using also not SmartMovie but Divx player from:

ffmpeg -i <the-video-file> -acodec mp3 -ac 2 -ab
 <the-audio-bitrate-of-original-video> -ar <the-audio-sample-rate-of-original-video> -vcodec xvid -r <the-framerate-of-original-video> -s 320x240 -g 300 -mbd rd -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -bf 2 -flags +trell+aic+4mv -f avi -sameq <output-video-filename>.avi

Evolution Synchronization (SyncML)

For the synchronization part I’m fully contend with the SyncML solution. I’m using ScheduleWorld as a central SyncML server. It’s a free solution for everyone. From this source i can synchronize:

  • Phone (tasks/calendar/contacts)
  • Google Calendar (calendar)
  • Evolution (tasks/calendar/contacts)

For my last phone (Alcatel OT715 – great phone ever!) this solution works quite good (i’ve got some quirks with the calendar and do not synchronize contacts, but for the phone it was the most i can get from it).

With E50, everything is different. Built-in SyncML client is great! I’ve managed to transfer all of my calendar and contact entries from one phone to the other in less than a 5 minutes. Phones are from different vendor !

After some tweaking, now i have also successfully synchronized Evolution contact list with the phone. Use SyncEvolution. I’ve been using version 0.6pre1 and everything works just fine. Use the provided with the syncevolution sample configuration for the ScheduleWorld. Enter only your login information and the default calendars/contacts to synchronize. I’m using it with the cron. Everyday everything is syncing. I’m very pleased with the SyncML.

INFO. It uses GPRS/EGDE connection, thus it will cost you, but for the normal case (2 contacts, up to 10 calendar entries) the bandwith it takes is about 20kB. Quite acceptable (even for me).

My favourites (software)

  • AutoLock – lock the keyboard, a must for the S60 series software (free)
  • TomTom Navigation – first class (especially with the latest maps for Poland)
  • Xlator – must have utility – encyclopedia, wordbook in a phone, and a free software!
  • SmartMovie – plays XVID, DIVX movies. Good tool.
  • The Incredible Machine – the history is striking back. Striking with the big BANG. I love this game, and for the phone it is perfectly usable.
  • ChessGenius – the chess game. I’m a looser 🙂
  • QReader – ebook reader (free), quite useful

My favourites (hardware)

  • LD-3W – GPS navigation – works great. I’ve found it marvellous connected with TomTom Navigation software. At last i am able to test geotagging 🙂 Fully supported by E50. Everything works like a charm
  • AD-41 + HS-20 – music headphones. For the first time quite weird feeling with the silicon innerlay of the earphone. But it has a pro – nothing from outside has influence on the music feel. Quite good!
  • BH-212 – bluetooth wireless headset – great for talking while driving. I’ve bought it when someday I was very close to the traffic accident because of talking with the phone 😉

What was not tested/enabled

  • Bluetooth connectivity – works great with Ubuntu and ThinkPad T61
  • Modem communication via IrDA – tbd in a near future. It’s nice to have possibility to communicate without wired connection.
  • Modem communication via Bluetooth – not tested
  • Symbian Nokia S60-3rd edition SDK – for now do not have enough time, to get acquainted with it’s SDK and get it running on the Linux computer