Infinite Rotation for the N900

| June 19, 2010 | 4 Replies

One complaint that many have brought against the Nokia N900 is that it largely lives in a landscape world. This is, according to Nokia, entirely by design. However, with the various updates to the firmware and software over the months, Nokia have added in support for portrait use of various bits and pieces. Out of the box, the Phone application worked fine in portrait. Unofficial (and then official) support for the browser followed. PR1.2 brought with it a shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+R, if I recall correctly?) that could allow a lot of other applications to be rotated, though this is forgotten when the software is closed.

Perhaps, however, those that want full portrait mode need look no further. Appearing on extras-devel a short while ago was a very small little package called rotatedaemon. I’ve not done extensive testing of it, so I don’t know if there are any issues with battery life drain, but it does seem to actually work.

A few key points:

  • Once installed, there is no need to press any shortcuts. Just rotate the device.
  • Applications will rotate through all 4 directions, not just the standard landscape and portrait Nokia offer.
  • It’ll try to rotate just about anything – including the desktops, task switcher and app menus. The desktop and task switcher doesn’t seem to cope, though at least some of the menus seem to be fine (for me, with Catorise installed, the top-level didn’t appear correctly, but lower levels were just fine).
  • There are no pretty rotating transitions – the rotations are instant.
  • It’s only 9k big, so even if it’s not optified and uses up precious rootfs space, it’s not going to make much impact (I didn’t check where it installed).
  • There doesn’t seem to be any way to turn it off, short of uninstalling the software.

Perhaps with some instructions and/or tool to configure exactly when and how it works, this might well become the staple for any N900 user trying to fill those small gaps Nokia left in its design, along with things like (for example) MMS support. I for one would quite like to be able to maybe hook the rotation onto something like a double press of the camera button, or some other easily available shortcut, so that it only happened on-demand.


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Category: Applications, Maemo, Nokia

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