GadgetShieldz for N9


Recently, I had a heart-attack moment when I observed some scratches on the screen of my N9. I had been very careful with my device, always pampering it and keeping it within the Nokia provided rubber case. But one sleepy night, I just happened to place the device face down on a wooden table for 10 minutes and viola!, I learned that gorilla glass is not really scratch proof.

One possible solution is to polish the glass, but I didn’t want to go that route yet as I suck at DIY and the 2.5D curvature of the N9 is sure to be challenging. So I went the screen guard way. I had bought a cheap screenguard earlier, but since it only covered the extent of the screen and not the complete glass top, the swipe experience was hampered greatly. I removed it within a few days of using. This time, I wanted better.


Enter GadgetShieldz. They have a custom product for the N9 and rather that just a scree guard, it is a SKIN guard. ie, it includes protection for almost the complete surface. I ordered it over ebay and it arrived in just 2 days!  It cost me around 300 Rupees (around 6 $).


The applications instructions are detailed and easy to understand, although it will seem intimidating in the beginning. Basically you need a soap solution to dip the film in. The soap solution will temporarily deactivate the film’s adhesive so that placing it would be easier. Wetting your fingers would help avoid fingerprints in the film.


The easiest part to apply was the screen. It was a 30 second business. But the side and back were very difficult due to the sexy curves of the N9. While applying, a lot of bubbles may get formed. See the images below taken immediately after application:



Lots and lots of bubbles!



Looks fugly!



However, after a 12 hour period (keep the phone switched off to give the film time to set), most of the bubbles work themselves out and we get a very transparent and clean look. The phone becomes very glossy to look at, especially the back sides. However, we lose the grippy feeling of the original skin.


Hmmm… the edges are dust magnets.



Most of the bubbles gone.



Also check out the glossy reflective surface!



This was the most difficult part to apply! Took me nearly 40 minutes!


So, in conclusion, I would recommend everyone to get one of these before you scratch the N9’s screen. If you  don’t want the glossy look, no need to apply the film everywhere. Just on the screen would be sufficient.

Things that can and should be improved #N9 – Part 1

I’ve now been using Meego-Harmattan on the N9 for more than a week now. It is a brilliant device, with a good balance between being actually powerful and being a very use-able phone. Of course Aegis throws up a few road blocks on the freedom of the device, but there is open mode and there still isn’t any other device on the market to beat this. But, the beauty of the device and the well thought out features of the OS have been written about in length at many places all over the interwebs.

What really helps a device improve and reach its true potential is honest constructive criticisms. And unlike other platforms, Harmattan (atleast most of it) is open source and once the problems and associated solutions are identified, developers can work on them and release patches to improve the platform. And Nokia has also provided us public bug tracker where we can post bugs or enhancement requests to Nokia.

So I am documenting some of the things that I came across that can easily be improved. I will be posting enhancement requests one by one, and updating this post with the relevant details. It would be greatly appreciated if you could vote for them. I also  request you to please help me out by posting your own bug requests/enhancement requests for the ones that I haven’t gotten to yet.  Let us all work towards a better N9(50)

  • When contacts are sorted by availability, the starred contacts are not displayed at the top. This may be by design, but it would be much better if even in this mode the starred contacts are shown at the top.
    [BUG 555]

  • I find my self frequently switching between Sort by Availability and Sort Alphabetically. This is because while I always prefer to see which of my friends are online at a given time, I cannot easily scroll to my desired contact in this mode (the quick scrolling is only between online/offline/pending). This is really not a good design. One possible solution is to utilize the free space in the middle of the bottom bar (see image). Here an icon to quick switch between the two sorting modes can be provided.

  • I’m not sure if syncing of notes is possible, but a way to share notes is really needed. It should include sending via bluetooth/email/facebook notes/etc
    [bug 188]

  • Rudimentary dictaphone and drawing features would be great

  • Sleep mode needs to be implemented.

  • Bookmarks IS NOT EQUAL to homescreen shortcuts

  • Browser cannot download many types of files (MIME Types). This is a big step back from the fully featured MicroB of N900.
    [Bug 558]

  • Cut/Copy/Paste

  • Ability to view non-mobile versions of webpages (ability to change user-agent)

  • Importing feeds via OPML is absolutely necessary.
    [Bug 159]

  • Landscape support. The individual articles can be read in landscape mode, so why not the article list also. Currently, it switches from landscape-to-portrait-to-landscape while reading different articles.

  • More flexible update interval options like for email. Currently it jumps from 3 hrs to 12 hrs. 3 hours is too frequent while 12 is too infrequent.

  • This needs a complete overhaul. I’ll be discussing it in a future post.

  • A small icon when the headset is plugged in would be welcome, especially as the N9 doesn’t play well with all headsets.

  • When a new message arrives, while there is a notification at the top bar, we cannot open the messaging application from the top menu. Instead, we have to go to the events view. This seems unnecesary as providing a link to the notification below the connection/Bluetooth menu is not that difficult.

  • A way to set preference of connections is needed. For instance, if I have a 3G connection, and two wifi connections, I need to be able to give preference of connections in order. Currently the N9 seems to get confused a lot when a wifi and 3G connection are both available and set to connect automatically.

  • When bluetooth is switched off, and we share something, the bluetooth is switched on automatically. This is great. But the bad part is, it is not switched off automatically. The connections should auto-switch-off after a few minutes of inactivity.

  • Related, while  switching on bluetooth, there must be an option to switch it on only for 15 minutes or so. This helps in avoiding battery drain due to forgetting to switch BT off.
  • Also, clicking on Bluetooth on the top menu should toggle  bluetooth directly rather than taking us to the BT settings everysingle time. -Thanks PrassadSher
  • The small UI elements at corners (like the back arrow in many applications) is very difficult to press. Most of the time, it is not detected. This should be replaced with larger target areas to improve usability.

  • Arrows in vkbd. This has been implemented nicely within the terminal application. Why not everywhere else? This will be a very useful addition to have. Arrow keys are one of the things I miss most from my N900. [Bug 32]

EDIT: As pointed out by LaruX in the comments, the swype keybard has arrow keys inbuilt. This link has more details on it. But I still feel the arrow keys implemented in the terminal is a better one.

Regarding the Events view, I feel that in its current incarnation, it is not really useful and that some important changes are required. I will post about them soon. TIll then, bye! Comment below and let me know if you have found other irritating nuances in Harmattan. once again, let us all work towards a better N9. And don’t forget to utilize the bug tracker like I mentioned!

NOTE: for basic instructions regarding usage of bug tracker,  read this post at TMO

Migrating from the N900 to N9


One of the first things I did after getting my N9 is researching how to migrate all my PIM data from the N900 to N9. This included my contacts, calendar, notes, messages, etc.  This wiki page hosted at has it all covered. The only place I ran into a snag was in migrating the SMS and IM conversations.

Fortunately, MSameer from TMO had created a small utility for transferring all SMS from the N900 database. Since IM and call logs were also stored in the same DB, it was theoretically possible to extract those from the DB also. Msameer had indicated a way to import everything, but the source then had to be compiled, which I didn’t know how to. So, I turned to the community and lo and behold, the awesome Nicolai came up with a perfectly modified utility to import all Conversations to N9.

How To

  1. Enable developer mode and install from other sources.
    • Settings --> Security --> Enable “Developer Mode”
    • Settings-->Applications—>Installations –> Allow Installation from non-store sources
  2. Download the utility (either for SMS alone or for Complete conversations)
  3. Install the utility by clicking on it in file manager
  4. Copy the database (located at /home/user/.rtcom-eventlogger/el-v1.db) from the N900 to the N9
  5. Open the terminal and run the following command:
    • n900-comhist-import /path/to/el-v1.db

It should now show the total number of events present and start importing them. It is recommended that the device be in offline mode while importing data as incoming SMS or other events may corrupt the database. I had a total of 23000k events and it took more than half an hour to import it all.

Be! And Lo, there was.


Ok, so let me start from he beginning.

I had bought my previous device, the amazing N900, back in September 2010 with my first salary. That purchase was the result of intense research and study of various devices like XperiaX10, GalaxyS, etc but finally I settled on the N900 because of its open-ness, hack-ability and physical keyboard.  Since then, I have fallen in love with the vibrant culture and community surrounding these niche devices called the NITs (Nokia Internet Tablets).

So, when the N9 was announced, despite the Elopacalypse, upgrading to an N9 was a no-brainer for  me.  But unfortunately for me, Nokia did an Elop and refused to release it various major markets around the world, including India. So I was stuck. My only option was to import it from elsewhere, which would have been prohibitively expensive.

Luckily for me, around that time, I saw a post by Vaibhav Sharma (of on Planet Maemo with news about a Challenge by Nokia IdeasProject. That was my first introduction to IdeasProject. The Challenge was to provide ideas for improvements regarding the UI/UX of the N9. So, I entered with 3 ideas, and after a whirlwind 30 days, 2 of my ideas were selected as winners! That meant that Nokia Finland would be sending me an N9! I was elated beyond words.



Anyway, long story short, after another impatient 3 weeks, the device was finally delivered to my home 3 days ago. Since then, I have been playing with it, tweaking it and generally seeing what all I can and can’t do with it.

This is my story so far and this blog will be a journal of my journey ahead.




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