Prototyping on the Nokia 770 Tablet

Tips and Tricks for prototyping with the new Nokia Tablet

Published
November 10, 2008
Reading Time
3 minutes

We’ve been using a Nokia Internet tablet, an Arduino board, and Flash for some rapid prototyping fun (read more here).  We’ve learned some interesting tidbits about the Nokia tablets as prototyping platforms:

  1. How to prevent the tablet from dimming the screen or entering sleep mode
  2. How to hack your own buttons onto the nav controller (up, down, left, right, enter) (770 only)
  3. How to disable all of the hard buttons to prevent accidental use (770 only).
  4. Creating snap-dome hard keys for prototyping small devices with physical buttons.
  5. Application Instructions (Connecting as root, SSH, SCP, changing passwords)
  6. ROM Tool instructions (Flash the ROM, R&D mode, USB Host Mode, new Kernel)

1. How to prevent the tablet from dimming the screen or entering sleep mode
These two commands allow you turn off the screen dimming and sleep modes:

install xTerm (see the Arduino+770 post)
Start xTerm (Extras > X Terminal)

# gconftool-2 -t list –list-type=int -s /system/osso/dsm/display/possible_display_blank_timeouts [30,60,120,300,600,1800,3600,0]

# gconftool-2 -t list –list-type=int -s /system/osso/dsm/display/possible_display_dim_timeouts [30,60,120,300,600,1800,3600,0]

now there are 1 hour intervals for sleep and screen dimming.  This is nice to have for many circumstances.  For instance, if the Nokia tablet falls asleep while connected to Arduino it loses the connection.

2) How to hack your own buttons onto the nav controller (up, down, left, right, enter)

Here is a diagram if you would like to hack your own buttons onto the nav controller:

3) How to disable all of the hard buttons to prevent accidental use.

To disable everything but power and home:

Download “xfree86” from here.

Drag xfree86 to the memory card then run:

# sudo gainroot
# cp /media/mmc1/xfree86 /usr/share/X11/xkb/keycodes/xfree86

Here are the current button mappings that are commented out of the file:

111= up
116= down
113= left
114=right
36=enter
9=back
70=menu
71=home
72=screen size
73=+
74=-
124=power

Feel free to change the comments to enable some other buttons you may need.

4.) Creating snap-dome hard keys for prototyping small devices with physical buttons.

We prototyped a small screen of a device on the touchscreen by showing the image of the intended device on the touchscreen.  The device we were prototyping had hard buttons, however, not a touchscreen.  This led to a confusing situation, there are buttons on the touchscreen of the 770 device that simulate real buttons, but the screen of the prototype is not a touchscreen itself.  To get around this problem we laser-cut an acrylic shield with fingers and placed snap-domes on the fingers that will touch the screen when the snap-domes are depressed:

5) Application Instructions (Connecting as root, SSH, SCP, changing passwords)

We have written instructions on:

  1. How to become root (superuser access)
  2. How to use a remote terminal over WiFi (SSH)
  3. How to transfer files to the tablet over WiFi (useful if it is set to USB host mode)
  4. How to change user passwords

To keep this post short, these instructions are available for download here.

6) ROM Tool instructions (Flash the ROM, R&D mode, USB Host Mode, new Kernel)

We have written instructions on:

  1. How to flash the ROM with a fresh system (in case something gets screwed up)
  2. How to toggle R&D mode
  3. How to toggle USB Host mode
  4. How to swap the kernel image only

To keep this post short, these instructions are available for download here.