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New Nokia Asha platform for developers

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Core information:

This is a very throroughly designed platform with carefully defined Nokia Asha Design Guidelines providing all the details as well as a comprehensive set of tools supporting that. From Series 40 to Nokia Asha is giving advice about migrating earlier S40 and Asha apllications to the Asha platform. It is also worth to have a look at that as by doing so you can compare the new Nokia Asha with earlier Asha Full Touch and Asha Touch and Type.

Preliminary reading:
The New Asha Range [global Nokia microsite, May 9, 2013] with separate Fastlane, Design and Browsing pages
The Asha Apps Revolution [Nokia Conversations post, May 9, 2013]
New Asha platform and ecosystem to deliver a breakthrough category of affordable smartphone from Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] my composite post of the all relevant launch information
Nokia’s non-Windows crossroad [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 2, 2013] my composite post analyzing the technologies which are provided now with the new Asha platform

Nokia Asha — Platform overview [May 9, 2013]

The key features of the platform are:

    • Platformised in software and hardware — complementing the Nokia Asha software platform is an increased focus on platformising the phone hardware, developers will now have greater certainty that a hardware feature they want to exploit in an app will be available across the new Nokia Asha family.
    • Firmware updating — smartphone users expect regular firmware update to bring new features and functions to their phones, the Nokia Asha platform has been built with this demand in mind and updates are already in development.
    • User experience — a engaging, sophisticated UI, optimised for 3″ (61.0 x 45.7 mm [unlike 66.0 x 40.0 mm on the previous Asha Full Touch devices]) QVGA (240 x 320 pixels [unlike the 240 x 400 pixels on the previous Asha Full Touch devices]) displays. The UI employs a swiping style for navigation between apps and the home screen, and within the home screen. It also enables apps to use the whole screen by hiding the status and menu bars until they are swiped into view.
    • More advanced, fully featured apps are easier with Java. Harness features such as 2D and 3D graphic, accelerometers, and location information among others giving you more options to deliver the quality of apps consumers expect on a smartphone.
    • With web apps online, content is delivered using up to 90% less data, while offering users an interactive, engaging UI because, unlike other proxy browser system, Nokia Asha web apps can update their UI locally on the phone.

    Java highlights

    • All new Oracle VM.
    • JAR files up to 5Mb and up to 3Mb heap memory (recommended).
    • New Asha UI for intuitive, fast interaction.
    • Mobile Internationalization API (JSR-238) and new Nokia specific APIs for features such as image scaling and network state.
    • Earn from you apps with paid downloads, advertising, and in-app payments.
    • Updated tools, with updated emulator and WiFi based on-device debugger.
    • Comprehensive documentation, training, code examples and more.

    Web app highlights

    • Powered by the latest Gecko rendering engine.
    • Rich UIs with dynamic list and fixed and scrollable regions.
    • API to build hardware back-button navigation into your app.
    • Ability to capture photos and videos.
    • Discovery through the Nokia Store.
    • Earn from you apps with paid downloads and advertising.
    • Updated tools with new simulator and code examples.
    • Comprehensive documentation, training, code examples and more.

    UX Overview – Nokia Asha Design Guidelines [April 17, 2013]

    Nokia Asha is built around the concept of stacked layers that can be directly manipulated by the user.

    image

    Base layout – Nokia Asha Design Guidelines [May 9, 2013]

    Nokia Asha UI combines the use of the swipe gesture and back hardware key for navigation, and therefore apps have no mandatory control areas on screen. Each app view can be easily designed for its main purpose, maximising the amount of relevant content on the UI. The base layout in Nokia Asha has two main areas: status bar and content area.

    image

    In addition to using the content area for app content, apps can add optional controls, Category bar (with tabs or actions) and Header bar. When the view offers few, rarely used options only, placing them under the Options menu is possible. The Options menu is accessed by swiping from the bottom of the screen. When the Options menu is available, the screen shows an Options menu indicator at the bottom.

    NOTE: When using LCDUI List, TextBox, Alert, or Form, the Header bar will be automatically added to the top of the view. When drawing on Canvas, the Header bar can be left out.


    Developing applications with Java – Nokia Asha Design Guidelines
    [May 9, 2013]

    Nokia Asha provides a few alternatives for developing Java applications. The following information can be used to select the best approach for designing and developing your application.

    CHOOSING YOUR APPROACH

    Custom UI on Canvas

    Using LCDUI high-level components

    Using LWUIT components

    image

    image

    image

    Full screen apps or apps with chrome (Status bar and Header).
    Everything drawn on Canvas pixel by pixel.
    Good approach for game development.
    LCDUI high-level components and Nokia UI API’s are in use.
    Components are styled with Asha look & feel.
    Custom components can be created with CustomItem.
    Offers a more comprehensive component set with many customisation options.
    Components are styled with Asha look and feel, but also custom theming is easy for branded look and feel.
    Custom UI on Canvas
    Canvas class is the main template for customised MIDlet functions. Using Canvas, the MIDlet can use any drawing primitives provided by the LCDUI Graphics interface and can receive key events. The drawback is that the MIDlet will not be as portable as ones created using only high-level APIs.
    A common example of a MIDlet that uses Canvas is a mobile game that requires pixel-accurate drawing and access to low-level keypad events. Read more information about Canvas from the Java Developer’s Library.
    Using LCDUI high-level components
    Limited Connected Device User Interface (LCDUI) is the base of any Graphical User Interface (GUI) created in Java™ ME (Java Platform, Micro Edition). It has a similar role to the Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT) and Swing APIs, which are used in Java SE (Java Platform, Standard Edition) and Java EE (Java Platform, Enterprise Edition), but offers a more restricted and resource-efficient approach to UI development.
    LCDUI has a simple screen-based approach, where a single Displayable is always active in the display area of the application user interface. This Displayable can contain predefined screen elements, or be manipulated in more specific ways.
    On a logical level, the MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) UI is divided into two levels: high and low. In general, the choice is made between the easy, quick and portable high-level APIs and the more customisable low-level APIs.
    image
    Figure 1. LCDUI overview
    Read more about the LCDUI from the Java Developer’s library.
    Using LWUIT components
    LWUIT (LightWeight UI Toolkit) is an open source alternative that provides a comprehensive selection of customisable UI components, layouts, and effects. Use of the ready-made Nokia Asha theme for the components is recommended, but developers can also easily create their own custom themes for branded look and feel. LWUIT is highly portable, as it scales to different screen resolutions and orientations, and has built-in support for touch and non-touch UI.
    LWUIT applications are created on top of LCDUI Canvas. Though LWUIT has been optimised for Nokia Asha phones, LCDUI is a better option for performance critical applications, especially on phones with cost-optimised hardware. Also, when a compact application binary size is crucial, LCDUI should be considered instead, because the LWUIT library is added to every LWUIT application and it increases the application size by 200-800 kB (depending on the application features).
    image
    Figure 2. LWUIT overview

    Nokia Asha — Java — Tools [May 9, 2013]

    Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 (beta)

    Create apps for the Nokia Asha family on Nokia Asha software platform using the Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 (beta). Then test your apps in an emulator based on the Nokia Asha 501. The Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 (beta) offers:

    Nokia Asha UI emulation
    The Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 contains an emulator based on the Nokia Asha 501, providing mouse based emulation of the phone’s touch features making testing easy.
    LWUIT for richer Uis
    A Nokia Asha platform optimised implementation of the LWUIT is included as a plug-in. Delivering rich UIs has never been easier.
    Integrated HERE Maps API
    It’s now even easier to add rich maps to your location based apps, as the HERE Maps API for Java ME is integrated into the SDK.
    Enhanced location features
    The emulator delivers updated location details from the integrated Route Editor to your Java apps, enabling richer testing of your location based apps.
    Multiple-touch simulation
    The Pinch-to-zoom simulator enables multipoint-touch gestures to be recorded and sent to the emulator.
    Sensor emulation
    You can simulate fully the orientation of a Nokia Asha phone in the emulator, enabling the testing of apps and games using the Mobile Sensor API (JSR-256).
    Enhanced media playback
    The emulator offers accurate media playback enabling complete testing of media delivered through your apps.
    Keyboard input
    Enter text directly from your PC keyboard into fields in the emulator, to speed up testing.
    Emulator tools
    Simplify and speed up your testing with the diagnostic window, MIDP speed simulator, configurable MIDP monitoring, and events generator among other tools.
    Java API emulation
    The emulator provides full support for MIDP and CDLC, along with the APIs provided in the Nokia Asha platform.
    Real phone emulation
    As the emulator is based on the Nokia Asha 501, it provides you with a realistic implementation of UI, user apps, messaging, and network communication features. Now you can accurately and conveniently test your apps on a PC.
    Selecting your SDK made easy
    The exclusive Device SDK Selector makes it easy to locate and install the SDKs you need to target earlier Series 40 phones. Pick SDKs by platform or phone model, download and install to get coding.


    Nokia IDE 2.0 for Java ME (beta)

    While the Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 (beta) is designed to work with the NetBeans and Eclipse IDEs, for the easiest and most straightforward development experience, the SDK includes the Nokia IDE 2.0 for Java ME (beta). Building on the power of the Eclipse platform for Java development, the Nokia IDE for Java ME delivers exclusive features for your Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 Java apps.

    Welcome to your new IDE
    A comprehensive welcome screen provides details on developing Java apps for the Nokia Asha platform and Series 40, available APIs, links to key Nokia Developer resources, and more.
    Selecting your SDK made easy
    The integrated Device SDK Selector makes it easy to locate and install the SDKs you need to target Nokia Asha and Series 40 phones. Pick SDKs by platform or phone model, download and install to get coding.
    Nokia specific JAD editor
    A customised JAD attributes editor makes it easy to add the information you need to effectively target your apps’ build to the Nokia Asha and Series 40 platforms.
    In-app purchase and location templates
    Get started quickly with your apps that take advantage of in-app advertising or location with new templates that includes everything you need.
    Access to examples
    Load any of over 40 example apps straight into your workspace. Covering many aspects of the Java APIs on the Nokia Asha platform, these examples can kick-start your development.
    Nokia Hub
    Quickly find more information on publishing apps, remote access to phones for testing, Nokia Developer news, and code examples though the Nokia Hub menu.


    Remote Device Access

    Test on a range of Nokia Asha and Series 40 phones

    With the Nokia Developer Remote Device Access Service you can connect to a comprehensive range of Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 phones over the internet. Install your app then run it, just as you would on your own phone, to check out its behaviour on different hardware and UI form factors.

    Learn more ›

    And don’t forget that Nokia Premium Developer Program for Asha membership give you access to more phones, so you won’t have to wait to start testing.


    Nokia Asha — Web apps
    [May 9, 2013]

    The Nokia Asha software platform provides a powerful, data efficient web apps environment. Targeting this environment, you leverage your web development skills to create connected apps that deliver web content with an engaging, interactive UX that’ll appeal to consumers globally or can be targeted at specific local markets.

    • New user experience — the Nokia Asha UI builds on the popular Series 40 UI. Delivered through a 3.0’’ (61.0 x 45.7 mm [unlike 66.0 x 40.0 mm on the previous Asha Full Touch devices]) QVGA capacitive touch screen (240 x 320 pixels [unlike the 240 x 400 pixels on the previous Asha Full Touch devices]), it supports two touch points for pinch-to-zoom and similar gestures. The UI swipe paradigm has been extended to include the Options Menu and fast access to the Home screen. A hardware back-button enables consumers to easily navigate an app’s hierarchy.
    • New APIs — so you to make most of the Nokia Asha UI, web apps include an API to listen for the hardware back-button. In addition, enhanced HTML tag support also means you can add image and video capture to your web apps.
    • New tools — the Nokia Asha web app tools deliver a Nokia Asha software platform option to the simulator and fresh examples that show you how to use the latest APIs.

    Start with the Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0

    image

    See how to create, test, package, and deploy to a phone your first Nokia Asha web app.
    Follow the step-by-step guide ›

    Start with Xpress Web App Builder

    Xpress Web App Builder offers a no-code approach to creating Nokia Asha web apps and delivering them directly to your Nokia Publish account.
    Watch the video ›

    When Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 graduates beta you will be able to use it to target all the phones that support Xpress Browser. During the beta phase the ability to capture images and video will only be available on the Nokia Asha 501. You can target all other features at Series 40 phones with Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 or download Nokia Web Tools 2.3.

    Nokia Asha web apps UI [May 4, 2013]

    Nokia Asha web apps UIs benefit from the features of the Nokia Asha UI, such as its swipe interaction to reveal the Options Menu, which enable web apps to focus the entire phone screen on content. When designing a web app UI, you have the freedom offered by web technologies coupled with the dynamic UI features offered by the Nokia Asha web apps runtime, such as the ability to dynamically update lists or set fixed and scrollable areas within your apps. Web apps can also make use of the hardware back-button to offer users safe and simple navigation of an app’s hierarchy.

    A great UX is about more than simply implementing a UI style; whether you are new to design or a seasoned pro, access a range of resources to help you create the best and most engaging experience in your apps and games. To get started check out the Nokia Asha web app design library before discovering other useful resources, such as design guidelines, UI stencils, and icon templates in the Design and User Experience Library.

    What’s new in web app UX design [May 4, 2013]

    The Nokia Asha software platform 1.0 offers a significantly updated UI compared to its predecessor, the full-touch UI on Series 40. This section describes the key UX changes that effect web apps:

    • screen size – the New Nokia Asha UI on the Nokia Asha software platform 1.0 supports 240 x 320 pixel screens. For more information, see the Displays topic.
    • multiple page support – the Nokia Xpress Browser 3.0 supports up to four active browser windows, enabling up to four web app to be run at once.
    • touch gestures – the New Nokia Asha UI extends the platform wide mechanism for accessing key features using a swipe from the edge of the screen. As this mechanism overrides application behaviour, care needs to be taken in the design of web apps to ensure gestures within the web app aren’t confused with the system wide gestures. Ffor more information, see the Touch Gestures topic.
    • back button behaviour – the New Nokia Asha UI employs a physical back button, this back button implements back-stepping in platform and Java apps. For web apps a new Mobile Web Library method addBackNavListener() enables the key to be captured so that web apps can implement the same back-stepping behaviour. For more information, see the Navigation Controls topic.
    • Options menu – the Options menu is opened with a swipe gesture from the bottom of the screen in the New Nokia Asha UI. The menu by default contains the Data counter item, but no longer includes an exit item. For more information, see the Options Menu topic.
    • launching web apps – from within the Nokia Xpress browser web apps will be launched from the Featured Apps option. For more information, see the Launching web apps topic.
    • file upload and download – the Nokia Xpress Browser Download Manager is available from within web apps. For more information, see File uploads and downloads topic.
    • passwords – web app passwords can now be cleared from the phone’s Settings feature. For more information see Passwords topic.
    • Data Usage option – web apps can now access a report on their data use. For more information see the Data Usage topic.

    Nokia Asha — Web apps — Tools [May 9, 2013]

    Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 (beta)

    Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 (beta) delivers a suite of applications that assist in the development, testing, packaging, and deployment of Nokia Asha web apps, including preparing them for distribution through Nokia Store. The key components of Nokia Asha web app tools are Web Developer Environment (WDE) and Web App Simulator (WAS).

    Download Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 (beta)

    During the beta release the features to provide the capture of images and video from within web apps won’t be available on earlier Series 40 platform phones supporting Xpress Browser.

    Web Developer Environment [WDE]

    Built on the Eclipse platform, Web Developer Environment delivers the code creation tools needed to efficiently create and package web apps.

    Extensive templates for new projects
    Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 offers wider variety of templates for common web apps styles, which you can use to quick-start the development of your web apps. Import existing projects to take advantage of enhanced editing features.
    UI Designer
    With the UI Designer you can build web app interfaces by dragging and dropping UI component snippets and laying them out visually, enabling you to create web apps UIs faster.
    Powerful code editing
    With code completion and full validation, your coding will be quicker and more accurate, enabling you to build Nokia Asha web apps faster.
    Comprehensive range of examples
    The range of web app examples has been further expanded in Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0, to illustrate use of the hard back-key and media capture. You can now easily access more examples of how to code common web app APIs and features.
    Targeted HTML/CSS validation
    Validation of HTML and CSS includes specific Nokia Asha web apps rules. You get better feedback to ensure your web app will work optimally on Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 phones.
    Partial web app upload
    When uploading a web app to the preview server, the Web Developer Environment only uploads changed content. This makes starting a cloud preview fast, minimising the time needed to test your web apps.
    Packaging
    Your web apps are automatically packed by the tool and delivered in the format required for distribution through Nokia Store.
    Published web apps’ JAR
    Once your web app has been published to Nokia Store you can request a copy of the deployment JAR. This enables you to distribute your web app on websites and through other app stores.
    Deploy for phone testing
    Completed Nokia Asha web apps can be deployed directly from the Web Developer Environment over a USB connection for testing on a Nokia Asha platform or Series 40 phone, while for Series 40 phones deployment over Bluetooth is also available.
     

    Web App Simulator

    Run your Nokia Asha web apps on a computer during development using the Web App Simulator. It simplifies functional testing and final design validation.

    Phone simulation
    Preview your Nokia Asha web apps to see how they’ll look and behave on Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 phones, and interact with the web.
    Control phone features
    Take control of your simulation and test your web apps against all the UI variations available on the phones that support Nokia Asha web apps.
    Automatic reloading
    Local preview are automatically reloaded as code edits are made — speeding up testing by ensuring Web App Simulator always show the latest changes.
    Location simulation built-in
    Web App Simulator enables you to define location information to your simulated Nokia Asha web app, making testing of location-aware apps a breeze.
    Debugging made easy
    Web App Simulator includes a custom version of Web Inspector for the easy debugging and performance analysis of your Nokia Asha web apps.
     


    Xpress Web App Builder

    Xpress Web App Builder is an online tool that guides you through the process of creating rich web apps, with no coding required. Select from a variety of templates, customise your theme, and then add clipped web content, RSS feeds, and social media information. The key features of the tool are:

    • layout templates to present content, including single pane, tabbed view, and accordion view, as well as focused templates for news, pictures, and video content.
    • a wide range of content widgets for clipped web content; RSS feeds; video from YouTube; pictures from Flickr, Picasa, and other photo sharing sites; and blogs from Tumblr and WordPress.
    • the ability to add SMS and call capabilities, static HERE Maps, and in-app advertising from Nokia Ad Exchange.
    • the option to customise your app’s colour scheme, including header and font colours.
    • static and dynamic previews of your app, for all supported screen resolutions.

    When you’ve completed your web app, the tool provides a short URL for testing the app on your phone, and lets you submit the app to Nokia Publish to start the process of publication in Nokia store. However, if you want to customise your web app further, you can download the source code and import it into Nokia Asha web app tools.

    Launch Xpress Web App Builder


    Remote Device Access

    Test on a range of Nokia Asha and Series 40 phones

    With the Nokia Developer Remote Device Access Service you can connect to a comprehensive range of Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 phones over the internet. Use your web app’s short URL to launch it in the Xpress Browser then run it, just as you would on your own phone, to check out its behaviour on different hardware and UI form factors.
    Learn more ›
    And don’t forget that Nokia Premium Developer Program for Nokai Asha membership give you access to more phones, so you won’t have to wait to start testing.


    … Nokia In-App Payment
    [May 9, 2013]

    We have also introduced the new Nokia In-App Payment tool, designed to make it easier for you to sell content from within your apps. It provides a simple and secure purchase experience for consumers and transparent payments for developers. Nokia In-App Payment will also be available for existing Asha and Series 40 phones*(from 6th edition platform and above, except C1-01 and C1-02. Nokia will release a public beta of Nokia In-App Payment in the coming weeks, and you can sign up for the beta here.

    Nokia In-App Payment invitation-only beta program [May 9, 2013]

    In-App Payment is one of the dominant monetization models in the mobile app industry. This model also referred to as ‘Freemium’ model, helps you build apps with higher and recurring revenue opportunity.

    The model enables you to attract a larger user base with a free baseline experience and then extend this experience by offering digital content for sale. Nokia In-App Payment marks Nokia’s renewed approach to In-App Payment. The solution has been designed afresh with several new features and it enables you to sell digital content to Asha consumers from within your application.

    • The best payout in the industry
    • Easy to integrate and maintain
    • Single click payment
    • Nokia brand adds credibility to the transaction
    • Unparalleled coverage of devices

    Sign up to invite beta          
    Frequently Asked Questions

    This translates to more consumers, more purchases after download and higher payout per purchase – all leading to more recurring revenue for you!

    We are pleased to announce the Nokia In-App Payment invitation-only beta program. With a beta invitation, you will get to:

    • Try the Nokia In-App Payment Beta library
    • Publish apps with Nokia In-App Payment
    • Share your feedback

    Please sign up to be eligible to join the Nokia In-App Payment invitation-only beta program. We will start sending out invitations starting May 10th 2013.

    Integration of Nokia In-App Payment in your app is easy!

    • Download and install Java Development Environment for Asha and Nokia In-App Payment library
    • Implement in-app payment feature in your application using the test product IDs
    • Test your app in the emulator or on device with the test purchase flow
    • Register in-app purchase products, declare price points with Nokia Publish
    • Update your application using the product IDs
    • Test your app using the in-app purchase flow
    • Submit your final app to Nokia Publish and be ready to generate revenue!

    The Nokia In-App Payment includes several improvements

    • Access to a larger consumer base through Series 40 backward compatibility**
    • Simpler consumer purchase experience through single click payment
    • Support for faster development and testing.

    The introduction of Nokia In-App Payment means that the current in-app purchasing solution will be deprecated. In the near term, the intake of new apps using the deprecated in-app purchasing solution will be closed on June 10th 2013. However, published apps that use the deprecated in-app purchasing solution will continue to be available on Nokia Store until 2016. Please refer to the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ for more information.

    ** For more detailed device coverage during the invitation-only beta, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.

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    4 Comments

    1. […] the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] my composite post of the all relevant launch information- New Nokia Asha platform for developers [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] my composite post of the all relevant development […]

    2. […] ← Intel CEO (Krzanich) and president (James) combo to assure manufacturing and next-gen cross-platform lead New Nokia Asha platform for developers → […]

    3. […] New Nokia Asha platform for developers [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] my composite post of the all relevant development platform information […]

    4. […] category of affordable smartphone from Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013]- New Nokia Asha platform for developers [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013]- Mark Zuckerberg’s personality is hyped (again) with […]

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