Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Essential N900 Apps

After another reflash of my N900 I noticed, that time after time I end up installing the same apps again and again. I then decided to put together a list of the apps I feel are essential to the N900.

I thought I'd do a little bit lighter post this time, as in the past all the posts to this blog have been a bit more on the heavy note. This post is aimed for people not classifiable as "über users" of Maemo, as these are the most basic, easy to use and easily found apps out there.

Most of the program headings below are links to their thread on!

System apps:

Here are the apps I feel sit best under the category of "System apps".

1.) Faster Application Manager

This app is absolutely essential to getting things done on the N900. It is a custom application manager, that allows you to download, remove and upgrade applications. It also allows you to manage your repository list. This is such an essential application, that it almost completely replaces the built-in application manager that comes with Maemo 5. Only system updates to Maemo 5 itself are better to install with the built-in Harmattan Application Manager (HAM).

FAPMAN allows you to perform multiple chores at once. Green means marked for installation

It gives detailed information on what's about to happen.

It shows which package its downloading and at what speed

Expect installations/removals to go without a hitch. FAPMAN also clears package cache after installing new apps, a feature welcomed by anyone looking to keep their device memory clean.

2.) Erminig-NG

Erminig-NG is a way of getting your Google Calendar synced with your N900, without the expense of a Mail for Exchange account for your e-mail. It started out as a command-line only app (usable only through the Terminal) but now the UI is evolving. It still remains rather un-intuitive, though, so below is a screenshot from the application's thread explaining all the functions.

Erminig UI and explanations on functions.

The basic logic behind Erminig is, that you add a Google Account, you tell it which local calendar syncs to which Google Calendar, and then you choose whether markings go from your device to Google, or only from Google to your device or if you want a mixture of both. The functionality is still a bit rough behind the corners, but it performs pretty well already.

3.) Enhanced Linux Kernel For Power Users

Enhanced Linux Kernel in installed apps list
This is not an application per se, but an update to the brain and guts of your Maemo 5 device. So this is like a service pack to Windows, just with about 10 times deeper repercussions. Although it has a scary name, I've never had this act up on me not once. When installing, simply grab the "Enhanced Linux Kernel for powert users (Settings)" package. This will install everything automatically. After it has installed, close all programs, power down your device, wait a moment and fire it up again. After this all changed will be applied.


The single feature why I always end up installing this modification, is because I'm so accustomed to overclocking my device. Below you will see a screenshot of me overclocking my N900, but I'll leave a vital piece of information out, so that you will have to hit the forums to find the missing piece and read everything there's to know about the dangers of overcloking. ;)

These are all the steps you must do to overclock your device.

Other reasons for installing this modified Kernel is the Mobile Hotspot feature.

3.) Calendar Home Widget replacement

Do you see it? It's in this picture!

The Calendar Home Widget is a replacement for the calendar widget that ships with Maemo 5. The core features for me are:
- Tapping on the widget results in "Month" view as default (you can alter the default view)
- It shows upcoming events' dates.
- Few other customisations are possible also.
- Constant support and updates from the developer!

4.) 2G/3G connection applet

Choose between using the 2G, 3G or Dual mdoe
This app lets you decide which cellular network of your operator your phone connects to. By default, your device will have Dual mode enabled. This means, that your device will always strive towards being connected to the 3G network, which allows faster mobile data transfer. Using the 3G network drains your battery faster, and usually isn't as readily available as the 2G network. 3G will drain your battery most when you're using it to surf, and when the reception is low. The 2G cellular network drains less battery, as it is more readily available, but 2G surfing speeds are drastically lower.

Here's a video courtesy of MyNokiaBlog showing off this app:

If you're interested in saving battery by monitoring which network you connect to, check out AutoDisconnect.

Entertainment apps

Now to the fun stuff.

1.) CuteTube
The creme de la creme of all and any Youtube applications on any platform.
CuteTube's developer describes cuteTube as a "feature-rich YouTube client". This is an understatement. CuteTube is a combination of a functional and neat UI, combined with the technical excellence that lies in the form of code under the surface. This here is one truly powerful Youtube application:
- View Youtube videos in higher resolution than in the browser
- All functions and features from using the webUI are present in this app
- Share videos on Facebook, Twitter, or just copy the URL into the clipboard.
- Constant support and updates from developer, PLUS there's a totally new and improved version coming, that will be able to run on the upcoming MeeGo platform.

Notice "Video playback quality", the default in Youtube for the N900 is 240p (480p here)

How CuteTube shows search results.

One click away from playing the video.

Just some of the functions you can do with the videos.

2.) Frogatto & Friends platform jumper game

Frogatto & Friends is maybe the nicest looking platform jumper I've seen in a couple of years on any platform. Its a huge download however, because of the music and sounds involved. It's well worth it though:

Frogatto exploring the outside world

Frogatto raiding a house (no he's actually one of the good guys)

 3.) Khweeteur twitter client

Khweeteur is a minimalistic and light Twitter app, that advertises itself by having your timeline and mentions in the same view. So there's no awkward jumping from one view to another or toggling things visible and invisible. The UI is totally clutter free, and looks like it might as well ship with Maemo. Khweeteur fashionably supports Location and notifications, and it will even make "" links of any long links you might tweet about.

There's almost no learning curve to learning this program.

Khweeteur is reliable and constantly developed. If you run into any troubles, you can tweet @Khertan for help. He is the developer.

If you wanna find me, just message @creip!

So that's it folks, my best of the best -list. Programs I simply cannot do without.

Please understand that any problems you might encounter using these apps I probably can't help you with. Your best bet is to read the thread or project pages for answers.


- Chris 2011


  1. I have the above except frogato, and removed 2g/3g a while back (didn't need it).

    I'd add "twimgo" as a twitter app - it's now my favourite as I find khweeteur not flexible enough in keeping dms/mentions available seperately and distinguished from the timeline

  2. Hi! Thanks for reading my blog!

    Yes, Twimgo is a really good Twitter app, but for some reason I keep coming back to Khweeteur.

    Certainly its in the class of "best apps for Maemo", but I decided only to include ones I Always end up reinstalling. :)

  3. Great Post, I will be doing a similar post soon, as I see you have only covered a third of my top apps. But, great post none the less. Count yourself bookmarked.

  4. hey nice post saw this after reading "What are the "must have" (top, best, most useful) applications? " on the maemo forum
    its good to see a very well explained post of the apps

  5. I love the SC2 search in cutetube ;)
    Can't beat a few SC2 commentaries while communting to work

  6. I am back because I was thinking of something that I am sure you would like to have for your N900. An Image of all your apps, music, video, docs exactly how your N900 is. By an image I mean like a Ghost Image. Imagine that, no more re-installing after a flash or a crash. I wonder if there is such a think for this OS? If Windows can have one, surely Linux or Debian have something. If anyone knows of such an app for my Nokia N900, please let us know.

  7. Hi MyNokiaN900 and thanks for your comments!

    No I haven't heard of such a thing. I think the closest is taking a backup with the phone's Backup software, but only including applications.

    The N900's backup program has a rather weak track record on actually doing its job, though... :)