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Chromium ported to N900

Chromium ported to N900

The Nokia N900's Maemo Linux platform makes it a hackers' paradise - and has helped to get the Chromium browser up and running.

Nokia's flagship smartphone, the N900, just got another exclusive in the mobile marketplace: a port of the open-source Chromium web browser, based on Google's Chrome project.

As reported over on Engadget, the move is an unofficial port of the Chromium sourcecode to run on the Maemo Linux platform that forms the core of Nokia's top-end N900 smartphone.

Based around the Chromium package originally developed for the Debian Linux distribution, the port is described as "a little buggy," but for those willing to put up with a few niggles it offers some features that are likely to come as a welcome surprise to those used to the traditional cut-down web browsers found in smartphones.

Perhaps the most impressive - and one that iPhone and iPad owners will be green with jealousy over - is support for Flash content, including full video playback. While it's not quite up to HD content, it does run standard definition video from sites like YouTube acceptably.

Another score for the Chromium port is that it passes the Acid3 test with flying colours, scoring a full 100 and managing to produce a final result exactly matching the reference rendering.

For N900 owners who want to try the Chromium port for themselves, full instructions for the manual installation can be found over on the Maemo Arena website.

Do you think that Chromium could be the next big mobile browser, or is the idea of running a desktop browser on a portable device a no-go from a user interface perspective? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

11 Comments

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NickCPC 12th April 2010, 13:52 Quote
Chromium on an N900 sounds good to me! I'm still waiting for Fennec for my N95 though...
eddtox 12th April 2010, 14:49 Quote
The N900 is the best device I've ever owned.

The microB browser which ships as default is awesome. It runs youtube perfectly as well as having a good go at most other flash. Firefox on the N900 has some nice touches but overall I find myself using microB 99% of the time.

I'm hoping the PR 1.2 OS update will enable flash HW acceleration so I can watch BBC iPlayer smoothly (it's a bit hit-and-miss atm)
javaman 12th April 2010, 15:05 Quote
Wonder if they'll release it for other mobile devices. If they wanna seriously challange the mobile market they're gonna have to. Guess it doesn't support multi touch either since they released on the N900 which has a resistive screen. If they can get that working then it could possibly make a great browser for the likes of the HP slate.
Vigilante 12th April 2010, 15:14 Quote
Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly, but since the device runs a version of linux, it should run chromium directly after being built from source for the platform, no?

What's the actual differences between this and the standard linux build? The interface is already pretty streamlined (and from what I can tell, the interface has remained exactly the same on this version anyway), so I'm just wondering how it classifies as a port.
rickysio 12th April 2010, 16:04 Quote
It's a bit touchy, but it works.

@eddtox
Agreed! It kicks seven shades of the rainbow out of any phone in the market now, as far as I'm concerned. Firefox on the N900 suffers from long start times, which turns me off, since I'm used to closing every application when I'm not touching my N900 for a while. PR 1.2 probably won't enable hardware Flash acceleration - you have to wait for Adobe to release the updated drivers for Nokia to enable it, unless you're somehow suggesting that Nokia should do Adobe's job. Not that I mind, though. ;D, anything to make the release of PR 1.2 for the N900 faster! The SDK is already out, which means that Nokia probably is just waiting for the final component (Adobe GPU accelerated Flash 10) to release it to us!

@Vigilante. The standard chromium is compiled for x86 processors, not for ARM, which the N900 uses. IF, we were to use Intel's Moorestown processor which is based on the x86 process, there would be a higher chance of stock applications working, but then it's still not guaranteed.

@Javaman It's not an official release - it's made by hackers, for hackers. Installation isn't a walk in the park. Google does not support this, but neither do they forbid this.

@NickCPC - Fennec is quite awesome with Weave support, but it's actually called Firefox, only the developmental builds are called Fennec.
Vigilante 12th April 2010, 16:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickysio
It's a bit touchy, but it works.

@Vigilante. The standard chromium is compiled for x86 processors, not for ARM, which the N900 uses. If, we were to use Intel's Moorestown processor which is based on the x86 process, there would be a higher chance of stock applications working, but then it's still not guaranteed.

chromium has had an ARM port for over a year, it was in development as part of the Chromium OS project which, itself, has an ARM port. It compiles and runs with no modifications on ARM-based linux distros, that's the point I'm making.
SchizoFrog 12th April 2010, 19:22 Quote
I am not sure what Chromium is supposed to offer. The only main reference in the article above regards flash playback from sites such as YouTube which as far as I know already work on a generic N900... Can someone please explain a bit more to a none N900 owner?

Thanks.
shanky887614 12th April 2010, 20:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
I am not sure what Chromium is supposed to offer. The only main reference in the article above regards flash playback from sites such as YouTube which as far as I know already work on a generic N900... Can someone please explain a bit more to a none N900 owner?

Thanks.

bassically this tweak is suposed to give full features of a full browser to a phone for example tabs in the browser among otherthings
SchizoFrog 12th April 2010, 20:55 Quote
So is it a browser that has been hacked to work? Or a full OS running side by side with Maemo or instead of?
ChaosDefinesOrder 13th April 2010, 00:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanky887614
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
I am not sure what Chromium is supposed to offer. The only main reference in the article above regards flash playback from sites such as YouTube which as far as I know already work on a generic N900... Can someone please explain a bit more to a none N900 owner?

Thanks.

bassically this tweak is suposed to give full features of a full browser to a phone for example tabs in the browser among otherthings

the N900's multitasking means you don't really need tabs, you just switch to dashboard view and you have all your web pages spread before you!

I've tried 3 different browsers on my N900; MicroB (built-in), Firefox (Fennec) and Midori (generic WebKit) and always give up on the letter two and revert to MicroB because it's brilliant!
shaffaaf27 14th April 2010, 03:23 Quote
and firefox to the palm pre :) wheres the article for that?
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