Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nokia Qt-Developers Contest

On a boring Friday afternoon I was just boarding the bus, coming home from the university when a friend of mine called me and told me about the Nokia Qt-Developers Contest organized by Nokia Romania.

We immediately established a team and went to the most silent pub we could find in Cluj for brainstorming.

The idea we ended up deciding on was my idea, inspired by looking at the ncmpc source code which I studied for building the 2d spectrum analyzer.

Basically the idea is to write a mobile MPD (Music Player Daemon) client. This is not special, there are many MPD Clients (MPC for simplicity) for every platform known to man. But MPD has http streaming and can basically stream your music back at you like a Shoutcast/Icecast radio station.

So our idea is to write a music player which lets you remotely control playback on your server and connect to the radio-stream and play it back, thus eliminating the need to store your huge N GB collection on a small memory card and leaving space for other stuff.
There are many technical problems with this idea, one is the data traffic cost, so you have to be on unlimited 3G data-plan or on a wireless connection (but these things are not as rare nowadays). The other is network latency (we need to carefully plan buffering) and also the effect on battery life.

So yeah, there are many challenges but if other projects could do similar things, it probably means it's possible and I have seen many great things happen under Qt.

I have already coded a working prototype , I am still battling Phonon because it doesn't really want to do what I tell it to, maybe I will rewrite the player part in QtMultimedia, we shall see.

I like this idea and I find it fun to code, mainly because I think it's relatively original (point me to a working implementation on a mobile platform if you think otherwise).

The other reason why I chose this idea is that it fits the spirit of Symbian and Nokia phones in general, since it targets as it's main audience the geeks, the power users, people who buy Symbian phones to connect through ssh to their server.
This is even more so in our days when Symbian is basically dead, Nokia abandoned it for Windows Mobile, so mainly the people who buy/have Symbian ^3 phones are developers/power users/geeks/business guys.

Even though this app doesn't seem very marketable for average users I believe there is a need for such a thing in the Symbian/Maemo/Meego/Android/Qt crowd.

Oh yeah, and now if we write it in Qt, the Android guys can use it too, thanks to a Romanian hacker named Bogdan Vatra.

I'm not sure that this is the most competitive idea on the list but feel free to vote for anything you like on this link.

Also this app would enable friends to connect to the same server and listen to the same song at the same time and also control playback.

So yeah, wish us luck! :)

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