Getting media content onto your tablet


USB Mass storage

One way is to simply attach your PC to your Maemo device using the out-of-the-box USB cable. This will mount the storage of your device as a drive on your computer, if automount is enabled. You can now simply copy your files from your PC to the Maemo device.

Sync music on Linux

The following will allow the N900 to be recognized as a media player appearing in the list of devices in Banshee and Rhythmbox for instance.

Create an .is_audio_player file on the device with the following content:

# .is_audio_player Configuration File for Rhythmbox 
# # works fine with my N900. 
# # lives in 
# # /home/user/MyDocs/.is_audio_player #n900 mounted
# # /media/Nokia\ N900/.is_audio_player #mounted on linux pc
# Which folders should we look for audio content? 
# give a comma seperated list.
# the following tells rhythmbox which formats can be read by the media player. 
# Rhythmbox supports drag&drop to copy tracks or albums to the mp3 player.
# If the file format of a file you want to copy is not in the following list, the first of these options is the one that the file will be converted to.
# If you copy (drag&drop) files to the media player rhythmbox will start copying or if necessary converting files in the background, silently, so don't be surprised, if you were expecting any kind of progressbar or something.
# These options specify where Rhythmbox or banshee(?) will look for playlists

Could the maemo media player have an option to configure this file? or rhythmbox get a dialogue to configure mediaplayers?

Using microSDHC cards

Another way is to use the microSDHC (N900) or miniSD (N810) slot of your device together with a fitting memory card and a card reader on your PC. Simply swap the card between your devices and copy the content.

Using SD Cards with the N810

One common criticism of the n810 is its lack of SD card slot (instead, it features a mini and micro-SD card slot). Using the n810 as an SD card reader is, for some, quite desirable (digital cameras often use SD cards only, never the smaller kind).

Here is how I was able to get my n810 to read and write to an SD card:

  1. Setup USB host mode. This will allow the n810 to accept external USB devices
  2. Purchase a USB SD card reader. This will allow the n810 to read from the SD card using USB, as it lacks the ability to read normal sized SD cards. Likely, the cheaper and simpler, the better.
  3. Find the USB to micro-USB that came with your n810. This will let us turn the micro-USB plug on the n810 into a normal USB plug
  4. Purchase a USB gender changer (A Female To A Female). The card reader can only be plugged into a USB port. Similarly, the micro-USB cable we have can only be plugged into a USB port. Therefore, they aren't compatible and won't connect. This device let's us plug both cables into the gender changer, thereby connecting them together.
  5. Find an SD card for testing purposes.

With the hardware supplies found, first make sure the USB host mode software is installed. Restart as necessary. Plug the micro-USB cable into the n810 and then into the gender changer. Insert the SD card into the card reader. Connect the SD card reader into the other end of the gender changer. The n810 should detect the device and mount it automatically. You should be able to browse through the files and use it as normal. I tested reading from the SD card and I successfully wrote some video files to the SD card (and then later opened them on a laptop). Things seemed to work fine.

Why Does it Work?

The n810 does not provide a fully powered USB port. Normally, a powered hub is required to use external USB devices while operating the n810 in host mode. Powered hubs relatively bulky, especially if traveling. The n810 can only power USB devices which draw less than than 100mA. According to one source[1] SD cards use 40mA (although some websites mention higher numbers). Even with the SD card reader, the n810 should be able to power the SD card reader without any issues. To be extra safe, you should still test your setup (connectors, card reader, SD card, etc) with some dummy files that you don't mind using. Verify that it works before you plan to use your SD card reader on the go and always backup your data.

UPnP Media Server

Universal Plug and Play is a set of protocol for device inter-communication, sharing data in your home network - for details see wikipedia article on UPnP.

UPnP Media Servers can be used to share your media content (music/video/pictures) with your tablet. All you need on your tablet is an UPnP capable application like the default media player (on N900) or a 3rd party player such as Media Streamer or Canola on older devices (N810, N800).

To set up your own UPnP Media Server I recommend to take a closer look at FUPPES - short Free UPnP Entertainment Service, because it's free and platform indepentent. It's available for Unix (Linux/BSD/MacOS X) and Windows. be continued soon

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