Nokia N900 10 free essential apps

So Hong Kong (i hear Philipine just got theirs) is getting a N900 release on the 28th April, apparently. I thought I’d create this post to welcome a bunch of happy new N900 owners. You ARE happy right? Nevermind that resistive touchscreen…

The Nokia N900 supports Ovi store yes. Plenty of apps there. But from its Linux roots, spawns a great number of quality community apps too. These are contained in separate repositories, mostly hosted on Nokia, and also enabled on all N900s.

As a pre-requisite to downloading some of these apps, you’re going to have to add a repository: the Maemo Extras Testing. Do note that this is a place where apps are placed waiting to be tested and then put onto the main Maemo Extras respository, they could contain bugs. However, I have used these apps since day one and have never had any problems.

Adding the Maemo Extras Testing repository:

App. Manager> Top menu bar> Application catalogs> New

fill in as follows-

Catalog name: Maemo Extras-testing

Web address:

Distribution: fremantel

Components: free non-free

Disabled: (unticked)


Precautionary steps for using Testing repository

  • Backup everything beforehand
  • and remember to tick the ‘Disabled’ box after you’re done downloading apps,


On to the list.

To find these apps, just search for them-

App. Manager> Download> pull down Top menu bar> Search> Search area: Application name and description.

The essentials:

1. 3G/2G/Dual Mode Selection Applet

Shortcuts are added to the Top menu bar, very handy. For those who need to be switching between 3G, 2G and Dual mode often. This can help you save battery, e.g. by switching to 2G only when in a low 3G coverage area.



2. Battery-eye or BatteryGraph

The N900’s battery life is hardly stellar. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on the usage and understand what uses the most battery. I couldn’t decide between the two. Battery-eye is a nice simple graph and BatteryGraph may have more info than you need. Install both and see for yourself.





3. Catorize

The default Applications list is fine. But wouldn’t it be better if they’re all categorised, and more importantly, categorised according to their download category? For example, BatteryGraph up there would fall under ‘Utilities’.


Now, Nokia’s PR 1.2 firmware changelog does however mention that they are doing away with the ‘More’ icon in the applications list AND add Spolight-like search into the applications list page. So it’s not known whether this app will still be compatible by then. We’ll see.



Default applications list. ‘More…’ shows all the rest in one screen. 




4. Extra protocols plugins for Conversations and Contacts

This adds chat protocol support for MSN, facebook, AIM etcetc…practically everything else that’s missing from the included protocols.


5. FM Radio Player

The N900 has a FM receiver chip. So why no Radio app, Nokia?



6. fm-boost

The N900 also comes with a FM transmitter chip. You can, for example, play the mp3s on your N900 and have the car radio pick on on the fm signal broadcasted by the phone so that the sound comes out of the car speakers. But by itself, it’s pretty weak and does not transmit across great distances…say more than one feet. fm-boost sacrifices more battery power and intensifies the fm signal or something like that.

Though, I have read somewhere that HK’s N900s will not have this transmitter chip due to legal restrictions. Someone enlighten me on this please?


Just click the FM boost icon.


7. gPodder Podcast Client

Podcast manager. Audio and Video podcasts. Very Good. Get.



8. Headphone daemon

This will sense when you have unplugged your headphone and pause the music. Only works with the default player I believe.


9. Load Applet or cpu-mem-applet

Now this may be for the geeks. Those who like to see useless stats after useless stats. On the status bar. me likes. Actually it can be quite useful. e.g. when you see your cpu or mem bar at max, you know something is wrong or you need to close an app.

Load Applet was the original I think. Includes screencast and screenshot functions. However if you don’t need those extras (screenshot is possible with Ctrl+Shift+P without app), then just get cpu-mem-applet.


10. Simple Brightness Applet

This one places itself in the top menu bar. Pull it down, and it will give you the same 5-level brightness control that you’d otherwise have to find deeper within the menus.


The usefuls:

1. AdBlock Plus

Gets rid of ads in the native MicroB browser.


2. Desktop Activity Manager

Basically, Profiles for your Homescreen. Highly customisable. e.g. during the day, you have a profile called Work, with emails, shortcuts to business websites, Boss phone numbers etc on the homescreen. On your drive home, you have a profile called Car with bluetooth toggle, Maps, GPS toggle etc.



3. Facebook Widget

Worst facebook app when compared with iPhone’s and Android’s version. But it’s much better than nothing. All it does is display the top three status updates from friends on your homescreen and…nothing else. Widget takes you to facebook’s mobile site.



4. Hermes

Sync and combine your facebook contacts with your local addressbook.




5. Panucci resuming audiobook and podcast player

Able to resume where you left off after you’ve quit the app. Don’t know why the native media player can’t do it.

6. RaeMote

Controls everything that a Apple Remote can! Without pairing. Uses IR.



7. WifiEye

Scans and shows visually nearby wifi AP signals, their strengths and their channels.




1. Firefox Mobile

Pretty good.

To download, go to like Mozilla’s official page says. This is going to be MeeGo’s default web browser.




2. Chrome


Have not tried this one myself. Instructions here:


3. SIXAXIS(TM) Support

Play your emulated SNES games with a PS3 controller via bluetooth! Just because you can.

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