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Best Wi-Fi Portable Browsing Device?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the deep-in-the-stacks-desire-mounts dept.

Handhelds 426

foxxo writes "I'm a library worker, so I get lots of questions about our collection when I'm out in the stacks. I'd love to be able to access our online catalog and give patrons more comprehensive guidance without directing them to the reference desk. What options are available for a portable device with Wi-Fi connectivity, full-featured Web browsing, and (most importantly) no cellphone-style activation and service fees? Size is important, too; I need something I can carry in my pocket, not a micro-notebook with full keyboard. (And I am a library worker, so low cost is key!)" One device that sounds interesting in this category is the GiiNii Movit (not yet released, but shown off at CES). What can you recommend that's out there now?

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426 comments

Nokia n810 (5, Informative)

murph (16036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27115967)

No recurring fees, I just picked one up for $222.

Re:Nokia n810 (5, Informative)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116049)

Seconded. Very nice device, and has a physical keyboard, unlike the other one likely to get mentioned a lot.

Re:Nokia n810 (3, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116075)

Somebody who's just pulling up information might not want a keyboard. In which case the N800 makes more sense.

Re:Nokia n810 (5, Informative)

bluephone (200451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116121)

Except the N810 is smaller than the N800, has 2GB of storage built in, and the kb slides out like many cell phones for text message addicts. It's an incredible package.

Re:Nokia n810 (5, Informative)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116407)

The N800 also has the advantage of taking regular SDHC cards, rather than the miniSD used in the N810. The full size ones are cheaper, and the N800 can hold 2 of them. And they can be set up as part of the root file system, if you're technically inclined. Plus miniSD cards can be a pain to find in decent capacities, they're kind of the red-headed stepchild of the SD family.

The on screen keyboard on the N800 is not bad either. Obviously not as good as a physical kb but more than adequate. It's tough to go wrong either way, though, as they're both excellent devices. Definitely the best handhelds available for their purpose.

(Typed out on my N800. :)

Re:Nokia n810 (2, Informative)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116461)

Keyboard or nor keyboard, not really the driver in the most appropriate selection. The main driver is how do you comfortably carry the device. Leaving the counter, carrying books, walking around the stacks tidying up etc. So obviously the most useful and cost effective device will be a typical netbook, getting it to the spot where it will be used, keeping in charged up between uses are the problem to be solved.

So small enough to fit comfortable in a pocket will end up generally speaking to small to be really useful, large enough and with suitable input devices is awkward to carry in your hands while you want to do other things and certainly doesn't fit in a typical pocket. So netbook stored in some kind of comfortable wearable pouch, shoulder holster, apron, bumpack etc. combined with a docking station for quick convenient recharging now add in a pen styled, optical scanner/bar code reader and you are done.

Re:Nokia n810 (4, Informative)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116619)

You've clearly never actually used one of the Nokia tablets. They're plenty usable at their size and they fit easily in a pocket. I've gotten a lot more mileage out of mine than I expected when I bought it, and it's become an indispensable tool for managing the network at work. They are, without a doubt, exactly what foxxo was asking for.

Re:Nokia n810 (2, Informative)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116595)

How has nobody in this thread mentioned the N810's built in GPS? Nothing says "I know where wifi is" than a list of geo-coords to back it up!

Not to mention that the built in map program has a list of Gizmo (paid) wifi spots. There is also osm2go that allows you to edit osm maps (adding wifi spots, etc) on the fly in the field

Re:Nokia n810 (5, Insightful)

kabloom (755503) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116143)

A librarian is probably querying a lot, not just pulling up information from predefined bookmarks. I'm sure a keyboard will be greatly appreciated.

Re:Nokia n810 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116197)

Thirded. Either the N800 or N810. Little shirtpocket Linux computer, basically. Mine's good for 7 days in quiescent mode (instantly available), and about 6 or 7 hours of non-stop browsing with the backlight on low. 800 pixel wide screen, which unlike most cell phone devices, is suitable for browsing non-mobile versions of web pages.

Only trouble: smallish fonts. You can zoom, but then you start having to scroll side to side on common pages. My aging eyes aren't waht they used to be. If you're young-ish, this might not be an issue.

Re:Nokia n810 (4, Informative)

monopole (44023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116301)

Amen to that. I've got the 770, n800 and an n810. The n810 wins out for this app due to the keyboard, and the size which is small enough to put in your breast pocket or in a belt holster. WiFi is good and the display is fantastic. Onboard GPS sucks but otherwise an excellent device.

Boot time is a bit long, but power management is sufficient to leave on for a long time.
 

Re:Nokia n810 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116353)

> but power management is sufficient to leave on for a long time

*nod* Mine runs 7 days at a stretch. Of course, if you run something in the background that keeps using CPU, it'll be a lot less.

Re:Nokia n810 (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116403)

or in a belt holster.

That's a good look.

Nothing says "sex appeal" like a portable WiFi browsing device in a belt holster.

But there's no law that says everyone has to get laid, so go ahead. Be bold.

Re:Nokia n810 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116571)

Is that the internet in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Re:Nokia n810 (1)

murph (16036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116527)

I had a 770, but dropped it just the right way to shatter the screen. This despite the hard plastic cover. I just waited for the right price on the n810 to replace it.

Re:Nokia n810 (1)

dieman (4814) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116759)

Seconded, again. They are perfect for this. I've used mine at the Minneapolis library back in the stacks at least once too. :)

Re:Nokia n810 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116815)

An AC vote for the n810. I was late to the party and only got mine last December. Sweet little package. I'll give a nod to something like the iPhone for overall browser speed but the overall flexibility of the device more than makes up for it in my mind.

Low Cost? (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27115971)

iPhone or iPod touch, assuming what you want to access is browser based.
Low price? Not so much, but if you have one anyway... Or were looking for a tax write off this might be the way to go.

Re:Low Cost? (2, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116423)

The poster did say nothing with a monthly fee.

Since the library certainly has Wi-Fi already, the iPod Touch is a good possibility, unless he wants to input any queries on a regular basis.

I love my Touch but I prefer real buttons to the virtual ones.

Re:Low Cost? (2, Insightful)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116455)

I think the iPod touch keyboard is really bad. Trying to enter an search string in iPod touch would be a nightmare.

I think one of those slide phones with querty keyboard would be much better. I'm sure there are ones with wifi.

Re:Low Cost? (1, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116539)

While it is true that no on-screen keyboard can ever match a physical keyboard in ease of use, I know of a lot of people who are quite fast and accurate at typing on their iPhones, I'm not a big fan of them either, but when you get used to them you can type decently

Re:Low Cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116837)

The iPhone OS qwerty keyboard is a matter of personal opinion. I've learned to get used to it, and most people i introduce it to get quite comfortable suprisingly quickly.

If you were using it all day long, i could understand the argument for a physical keyboard. Just don't go for one of those god damn awful blackberry style like 0.5mm wide keys that are just crowded onto the device and hard to locate.

Also, not that it really applies to this case, using the iPhone keyboard after a few beers is a really bad idea, texting tends to get even worse :-/

Nokia n800 ain't bad. (1)

OpenGLFan (56206) | more than 5 years ago | (#27115985)

My Nokia N-800 isn't bad. It's pocket-sized and has a decent web browser. I've switched now to an Android G1, so I don't know about recent developments. You do have to use the stylus to use the keyboard though. I've heard that the newer model has a pop-out keyboard, so that might be better.

Re:Nokia n800 ain't bad. (2, Interesting)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116441)

If you click the centre button on the dpad when the cursor is in a text field, it brings up a larger, more thumb-friendly on screen keyboard. Much nicer when typing more than a few words, such as for a slashdot reply.

iPod Touch (5, Informative)

erayd (1131355) | more than 5 years ago | (#27115989)

Gotta say the cheapest iPod touch is probably going to be a good bet here, particularly as it's a wifi-only device; you don't have to buy a whole cellphone at the same time.

Re:iPod Touch (-1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116081)

> iPod touch is probably going to be a good bet here,

Stupid choice for a web access device since it has a broken browser that can't be replaced with a working one and the stated purpose is something for web access. These days no flash == broken. Wish it weren't so but it is and no Apple handheld product will ever be allowed to have Flash it appears.

Go for the Nokia, it has Flash 9 and the N810 even has a real keyboard, something else you really really want in a device that is going to be mostly used for web browsing, especially since the use case described implies a lot of typing in of search text.

Re:iPod Touch (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116093)

Not sure if you've been to many library web sites... but they tend not to be heavy on Flash.

Re:iPod Touch (4, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116223)

> Not sure if you've been to many library web sites... but they tend not to be heavy on Flash.

I dunno about that, we used to not have a lot of javascript crap on em either. The 'web designers' are killing the internet I tell ya. And you kids get off my lawn!

The point being if you do much Internet searching you are bound to hit Flash, Java, etc. And the i* products aren't designed for real Internet access, just the stuff Apple wants you to do on them. The same locked experience as any other browser on a phone, only more from being locked and less from being lame and crufty.

Compare to the Nokia I mentioned which runs a Mozilla based product with a real Adobe ARM port of Flash 9 on a display good enough (800x480) to display real web pages instead of a 'mobile phone' experience that often totally fails unless the site has a special reduced 'mobile' version. Sorry, Apple's stuff looks pretty but the tech is always second rate.

Re:iPod Touch (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116447)

And the i* products aren't designed for real Internet access, just the stuff Apple wants you to do on them.

Now you've done it.

Every time you say something negative about Apple, you make Jesus cry.

Shame on you.

Re:iPod Touch (3, Informative)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116775)

Compare to the Nokia I mentioned which runs a Mozilla based product with a real Adobe ARM port of Flash 9 on a display good enough (800x480) to display real web pages instead of a 'mobile phone' experience that often totally fails unless the site has a special reduced 'mobile' version. Sorry, Apple's stuff looks pretty but the tech is always second rate.

You might consider actually trying the Safari browser on the iPhone or iPod Touch before commenting on the way it works. The browser displays exactly the same thing you'd see on your "real" computer, just smaller - unlike, say, the Windows Mobile version of IE (although even that is changing, finally). Most reviews of the web-browsing experience on the iPhone/Touch have commented on the true HTML rendering of mobile Safari - even those reviews that've lamented the lack of Flash.

People do sometimes write special pages designed for the iPhone's smaller screen; but they could just as easily do the same thing for a Nokia phone or any other small device - and there's no requirement to do any of that.

Re:iPod Touch (1)

erayd (1131355) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116137)

The Nokia is a bit of a niche market though - the ipod has the benefit of being able to be used by your average joe for a zillion things, largely due to the app store. It's also cheaper, and has a faster CPU. Also... as most library sites don't use flash, this is very unlikely to be an issue.

Re:iPod Touch (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116219)

I don't think "niche market" means what you think it means.

What you mean to say is that the Nokia devices aren't well known or used by many people. It is QUITE easy to use the the N810 is excellent. I have one. The N800, however, uses memory cards that are more compatible. Both have bluetooth which means a folding bluetooth keyboard can be used on either device. N810 has GPS built in... but I am going off on a tangent. The N8x0 is very easy to use and a lot more web standards compliant than the ipod touch.

Re:iPod Touch (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116293)

> Nokia devices aren't well known or used by many people.

Niche. Simple one word description.

Re:iPod Touch (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116393)

No, but it's usage is exactly the same functions as ipod touch. It does more than ipod touch, but otherwise they are extremely comparable devices. A niche market is one that fits a limited range of use or purpose that isn't necessarily mainstream.

Re:iPod Touch (3, Insightful)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116769)

Erroneus, despite your name, you're right. There's a difference between "niche" which means it can only appeal to a small audience (whether by design or inherent limitations) and "obscure" which implies it could appeal to a larger audience, but is not well known. Kinda like noise music vs. the MC5!

Re:iPod Touch (1)

erayd (1131355) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116803)

I did choose that word deliberately, and I'm still happy with it - what I think you missed was that I was using it in a comparitive sense, rather than absolute. The market for N800/810 etc is certainly a niche one when compared to the market for the iPod/iPhone.

Does that clarify my meaning?

Re:iPod Touch (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116151)

did your parents have any kids that weren't retarded?

Re:iPod Touch (4, Informative)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116427)

These days no flash == broken.

Uh, to many of us, no Flash == much more functional, not broken.

Re:iPod Touch (2, Informative)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116471)

> Uh, to many of us, no Flash == much more functional, not broken.

Not at all. You just have to install the flashblock plugin so you have control over the crap and can still access the useful stuff.

Re:iPod Touch (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116435)

These days no flash == broken.

that's true.

Even those library sites that aren't flash heavy are starting to have video clips.

I still don't get why anyone would design a media browser that doesn't play flash.

Re:iPod Touch (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116531)

> I still don't get why anyone would design a media browser that doesn't play flash.

Because Flash has enough functionality that, if it were the only way, people could write whole apps with it. And since the iPhone is a totally locked platform it had to go to close off that possibility. Because people would have done it, Apple was correct in their assessment of the risk to the App Store's monopoly. With Apple products you have to realize control is more important than being useful. It just has to look pretty, the Reality Distortion Field will sell the product regardless how many features are missing or how expensive it is.

Re:iPod Touch (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116289)

iPod Touch (or else, Sony Mylo)

1. $229 new from Apple, or you can get it cheaper used on eBay, Craigslist, etc.

2. The screen is large and has great resolution.

3. Contrary to what other commenters have said, the iPod Touch / iPhone browser is excellent. Very easy to use, and renders web pages very well. Even pages with a lot of Javascript work just fine. While true that it does not support Flash, I think that is fine - especially for the use you describe. Most importantly, it allows for very quick navigation to favorites/bookmarks, and allows for easy scrolling through lists, zooming, etc.

4. Someone (you) could write a dedicated iPhone/iPod Touch App that does just what you want, potentially improving over the basic web interface. This is not necessary, but is a nice option to have. Alternatively, one can use the free iUI Javascript/CSS library to make the web app that you mention work even better on the device.

5. It's here to stay.

6. It has a decent camera. You could snap a shot of the ISBN number, cover, etc. if that turns out to be useful.

Potential downside: If you need to enter a large amount of text, say for your queries, then you should test the device first and see if you feel comfortable with the on-screen keyboard. Personally, I don't like it much - if you do have to type a lot, then something with full QWERTY keyboard buttons might be better.

Alternative: Sony Mylo

1. $199 (free shipping from Sony Style)

2. Full physical QWERTY keyboard.

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&categoryId=3711&N=4294965990 [sonystyle.com]

Re:iPod Touch (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116335)

Astroturfing is the cancer thats killing //./

Re:iPod Touch (4, Informative)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116413)

> 1. $229 new from Apple, or you can get it cheaper used on eBay, Craigslist, etc.

Yea and an N810 is $259 and a lot more usable AS A WEB BROWSER. Yes the iPod is probably a better music player but that wasn't the question.

> 2. The screen is large and has great resolution.

No. 480x320 is NOT high resolution. Few non mobile phone optimized pages are going to display on that. The N8x0 series has 800x480. Do the math. Hopefully Apple fanbois can still do simple X > Y type reasoning.

> 4. Someone (you) could write a dedicated iPhone/iPod Touch App that does just what you want

And the Nokia runs Mameo, a Linux based open platform. Besides writing a full GTK app you can program something up in one of the SIMPLE SCRIPTING LANGUAGES THAT APPLE FORBIDS. And you don't need to get anything signed by Apple before passing it around. So your point was?

> 5. It's here to stay.

Because we all know Nokia is tettering on the brink of insolvency.

> Alternative: Sony Mylo

Discontinued, no replacement mentioned. You really should LOOK at a URL before you post it. But it really looked like an interesting product, hope Sony does get around to refreshing the line.

Re:iPod Touch (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116491)

6. It has a decent camera.

There is no camera. Only the iPhone has a camera.

The camera is a lie.

Re:iPod Touch (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116347)

The only thing is the power consumption of the wireless access. You can't leave it running constantly. That said, it takes maybe two or three seconds for the iPod Touch to sync up with a known network.

Just a few clicks and you're good. How much is the 16GB Touch now? I paid $299 for mine.

Follow-up question: iMac internet sharing (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116473)

I keep my iMac's built-in Airport turned off because, sadly, I have nothing else to connect to it. (Yes, I too am on a budget). But an iPod Touch or similar device would be nice. I've read in David Pogue's "OS X Missing Manual" that you can share the Mac's internet connection to computers using Airport. Seems simple enough; I'm just curious if anyone is doing this.

Re:Follow-up question: iMac internet sharing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116567)

The wifi at my university (my employer) sucks, so several of us have banded together to share the same SSID from our iMacs. Now we've got access on a couple floors and don't have to jump through hoops (university SSID isn't broadcast, has to be selected).

Sony PSP... (3, Informative)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116001)

Surprisingly its my PSP that I usually break out in situations where I need to browse the web but can't be at the computer. Yes its a game system but the wifi\browser are fairly decent if you can live without WPA2. I'm not too sure what else is out there, but a PSP can be purchased in the $150 to $200 range.

Re:Sony PSP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116691)

2nd'd

Re:Sony PSP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116723)

I'm pretty sure the PSP supports WPA2. The Network Settings area on the PSP doesn't mention it, but I have my router set up on WPA2 and the PSP syncs with it without any problems.

Re:Sony PSP... (1)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116777)

Mine does't like AES, it will only do TKIP. I know that when I had my router set to WPA2 my PSP sees it but grays it out under the pretense that it is not compatible.

Re:Sony PSP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116845)

I second that. We don't have a library run wifi node but have several competing telecoms with theirs installed at our Library. One of them provides free access to our web cat that works fine with a PSP in the stacks. Probably the cheapest option.

Define 'portable'? (4, Informative)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116029)

For sitting in a wifi coffee shop, I'd say my Eee 900 is a great compromise. Then again, having watched my friend playing with his iPhone I'd have to say that, for ultraportable / ultraconvenient / always with you access, the iPhone (or iPod touch) are probably the best you can get.

Re:Define 'portable'? (3, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116139)

"Define 'portable'"? Is "I need something I can carry in my pocket, not a micro-notebook with full keyboard" (FTFS) enough of a definition?

Re:Define 'portable'? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116273)

Wait, there's a summary? O.o

But seriously - it depends what they want to do. An iPhone/iPod Touch is great for reading mail but anything smaller than the Eee is absolutely useless for entering any more text than you'd put in an SMS. If you want something that's ultra-convenient apart from input, I don't think you can beat the iPhone style devices.

Best Wi-Fi Portable Browsing Device? (0, Redundant)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116053)

Nokia N800 [linuxdevices.com] .

Handheld Linux machine (the nerd's iPod). Small enough to go in a pocket. Mozilla browser. Big bright 800x480 screen. WiFi. ~$200 if you can find one.

PDA (1)

Da Cheez (1069822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116111)

The iPAQ 110 is fairly new and if you replace pocket IE with something a bit better like Opera Mobile it would work pretty well. You can get it for around $200, depending on where you look.

Nintendo DS Browser (1)

xiitone (152104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116113)

If you have a Nintendo DS Lite, you can pick up the Nintendo DS Lite Browser cartridge that runs Opera for about $70.

Re:Nintendo DS Browser (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116401)

...I tried using that... it was, painful, to say the least. The iPod touch does a much better job of browsing and can be found for about the price of the browser + DS.

refurb ipod touch (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116115)

A refub 1st gen iPod touch might be a good bet. As long as there is a wifi connection, it will be able to browse. Under $200.

On another note, I think this is where Amazon really missed the market for the Kindle. If it had wifi, and had a web browser, then the kindle would be one of the greatest pieces of hardware on the market, and perfect for this type of application. Of course if it had wifi, then Amazon would certainly lose revenue on book sales and would not be able to pay the cell phone bill that currently allows wireless delivery.

In any case, there are a number of option out there, but wifi without cell phone there is no choice, and most other options are twice the price fo the touch.

Re:refurb ipod touch (2, Insightful)

spandex_panda (1168381) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116133)

Web surfing and particularly flash web surfing takes up a bit of CPU, so I reckon this is why ipod tough etc. don't have flash. How does the N810/800 go with flash games etc.? I reckon the Kindle would crumble before most web pages when the bloody flashing adds start playing.

Re:refurb ipod touch (1)

kabloom (755503) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116183)

You're wrong when you say there's no choice for Wifi without a cell phone. There's the N810, and all sorts of netbooks.

Re:refurb ipod touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116395)

need something I can carry in my pocket, not a micro-notebook with full keyboard. (And I am a library worker, so low cost is key!)"

n810=$250.

Re:refurb ipod touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116283)

The Kindle does have a browser, albeit a primitive one. The CPU is so slow though that anything other than just very basic pages are painful on it. This coming from someone who does most of his browsing on a 6+ year old notebook.

Re:refurb ipod touch (1)

jhp64 (813449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116617)

On another note, I think this is where Amazon really missed the market for the Kindle. If it had wifi, and had a web browser,

The Kindle has a web browser, albeit a primitive one.

Re:refurb ipod touch (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116679)

I would agree with you.
I would add the Nintendo DS with Opera as well and the Sony PSP. Also a netbook could be an option.
All depends on our website really.

TMobile G1 (2, Interesting)

Nephroth (586753) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116199)

I absolutely love mine. The browser is excellent for a mobile device, the hardware is robust, and the physical keyboard/trackball makes browsing a breeze. The browser supports java, and will also soon support flash, you really can't ask for more.

Re:TMobile G1 (0, Flamebait)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116261)

> I absolutely love mine.

We can tell. Even though the question specifically excluded CELL PHONES you had to pimp your G1 anyway. The dev version is $400 so is probably out of this guy's budget so that would leave him with a contract with a cell carrier he doesn't want.

Re:TMobile G1 (1)

kohaku (797652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116519)

Even though the question specifically excluded CELL PHONES ...

Naw, what (s)he said was (and I quote):

(most importantly) no cellphone-style activation and service fees

An unlocked, sim-free G1 would meet these requirements. It's still pricey though.

Look for a used cell phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116227)

I have a Samsung SCH-i760, which has Wi-Fi capability (B/G) and a slide out full QWERTY keyboard and I put Opera Mobile on it (though it does have IE since it's a WinMobile device).

I'm sure you could find someone you know that has a cell phone they no longer use or about to up-grade that has similar capabilities and use that. Hell, my friend just gave me his Blackberry 8330 when he got the Storm, and I'm sure you could find someone willing to just hand-off a Wi-Fi enabled phone.

iPod Touch. (2, Insightful)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116259)

if there is one device that has absolutely nailed the portable web browsing category, it's the iPhone. I've used Blackberry devices, Windows Mobile smartphones, a bit of Symbian and Palm, and nothing could render most of the web as good as Portable Safari has been able to.

Additionally, they can be found for under $200.

Yay Wikipedia (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116303)

Just found this on wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handhelds_with_WiFi_connectivity

800 pixel wide screen a must (4, Informative)

Freedom Bug (86180) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116309)

I have a Nokia N810, and think the 800 pixel wide screen is its killer feature. With an 800 pixel screen you can run any web site and not be stuck in the "mobile ghetto".

Must be a DEMOCRAT in the White House (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116319)

North Korea - after 8 years of silence - is now issuing threats again.

How is Hopenchange going to deal with a regime that blows up entire airliners full of civilians just to kill a few politicians of another country?

Since Hopenchange is just Jimmy Carter II, he'll probably do just like Carter I did against Iran - shit his pants and fold like a tent.

As for Iran...

(And as an aside, has anyone ever noticed how Mugabe got into power in the first place? Guess what? He was propped up by some dimwitted, spineless peanut farmer...)

Re:Must be a DEMOCRAT in the White House (-1, Offtopic)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116603)

8 years of silence? You must be forgetting that during the whole "Saddam Hussein might maybe be thinking of building some nukes if only he had some Uranium, so let's invade Iraq" period, lil' Kim was bouncing up and down on his soap box yelling "WE HARV NUKREAR WEAPORNS". And G.W.'s response was "yeah whatever".

P.S. Go the iPod touch. Srsly.

iPod Touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116349)

iPod Touch is the obvious choice. It won't give you flash, but otherwise it has a great browser and is incredibly small. You'll be able to reference things quickly and you can use it for music as well.

I would go with second gen iPod Touch because it is slightly faster than the first gen and iPhone. You should be able to pick up an 8GB for $299, it will be a good investment if you take the initiative to really use it.

Re:iPod Touch (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116645)

IMHO, neither ipod touch nor iphone have enough screen resolution to be a full fledged internet browsing device. ipod touch is only 480×320.

Better to go with an N800 or N810 - you get an 800x480 pixel screen, so 2.5X the ipod, and it still fits in your shirt pocket. Plus, it runs open source software - lots of Linux apps have been ported. And it's open: no jail-breaks needed, and you can run whatever you want. It's even a pretty decent MP3 player. The audio quality through good headphones is as good as any dedicated mp3 player I've heard.

Nokia 770 (1)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116375)

I own a nokia 770 and it works quite nicely for simple browsing, I can imagine it would be just fine for a simple library webpage. they can picked up for not too much if you keep your eyes open on ebay, around $50 maybe. The only problem with it is having to use the stylus for the keyboard. If that isn't acceptable to you, then the ipodtouch is probably your best bet with it's better on-screen keyboard.

Re:Nokia 770 (1)

terbo (307578) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116513)

Yea, an 800/810 is a little nicer, and the 810 with the keyboard might make for better typing,
but also could remove one handed operation. Carry a few extra batteries and its pretty nice for
web browsing (flash is a bit slow) and quite killer for remote desktops (mstsc better than vnc here..)

MIssing Info from Question (5, Interesting)

mcspoo (933106) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116421)

Think the question missed an important point: does she want to be able to search from a web-enabled OPAC or does she need to use Windows in order to access a ILS system? As an example: Sirsi uses software called "Workflows" to access the actual ILS (Integrated Library System) in order to search the catalog, place, holds, order items, etc. The only approved OS's for this software is Windows XP (and Vista... just barely). This discludes just about any Android or Linux enabled device, but her mileage may vary by what ILS her library relies upon. If that's the case, then you can find examples of this at libraries around the nation. As an example, South Lyon Library in MI has "Roaming Reference" capability through the use of Tablets. Some of the newer Netbooks are likely more than capable as well, if not quite as portable.

Get a Cheap Used Palm Tungsten C (4, Interesting)

CAOgdin (984672) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116429)

Put in a cheap WiFi Router in the Library (set for 802.11b only; the Palm can do 802.11g), and WEP for security (if you must; why not let others use the same database?). Cost: About $35 Now, buy a used Palm Tungsten C from eBay (about $75), and make sure the seller guarantees the WiFi will work (many don't). Now you have, for roughly $125, your own link to the network, and no further monthly expenses. I've got lots of clients where we do this; I use my Tungsten with those system almost every day.

WiFi network Type. (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116463)

You need to keep in mind what kind of wireless network is available.

My school dropped 802.11b a year ago (only 802.11g now), so some devices(i.e. Sony Mylo Com-1) simply can't see the network. The network is secured via 802.1x/WPA2, so some devices that can connect don't have the software to authenticate(i.e. Sony PSP).

Borrow a friend's iPod Touch and see if it fits the bill. It's the obvious choice to me unless you require Flash.

Zaurus? (2, Interesting)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116479)

I've got a Sharp Zaurus 6000 that has all of the features you're looking for: built-in wifi, a physical keyboard, and a sharp and bright touchscreen. The later zauruses might be even better with the clamshell design and better battery life. The only drawback is that they're not as easy to find since Sharp discontinued selling them in the US.

If you don't mind getting the WiFi from a compactflash wifi adapter instead of being build-in, the older 5500's turn up frequently for a reasonable price.

What kind of browsing? (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116487)

I'm surprised no one's suggested Kindle yet. From what I've read, it would fit a few use cases.

Re:What kind of browsing? (1)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116787)

Might not fit the low cost requirement and the fact that they are looking for wifi(Pretty sure the Kindle connects with Edge or 3G, although so far Amazon does not charge for it). If they really want a Kindle for other uses (they do work for a library, so its possible they enjoy reading), then the browser would probably be sufficient for browsing the library website. Otherwise, they could probably get a Nokia 800 or 810 for a bit more than half the cost of a Kindle and have a much better browsing experience. I'd bet a Nokia 770 goes pretty cheap on ebay as well.

Older Palm Pilots (1)

trainsnpep (608418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116501)

Some older Palms have Wifi with decent browsers. I'm fairly sure they support Javascript. They'd be nice and cheap, but their battery life is limited.

Re:Older Palm Pilots (1)

ian_mackereth (889101) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116585)

The TX has a reasonable battery life, especially given that your wi-fi access is likely to be in short and sporadic bursts, not 'always-on' like a cellphone.

The screen's the same res and similar size to an iPhone and the built-in browser's adequate, or you can run Opera Mobile for a few more bells and whistles.

Oh, and it apparently can be used for other stuff like movies, MP3s, addresses, tasks, ebooks, etc., etc.!

Re:Older Palm Pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116705)

I had a TX right up until I got my new phone (nokia e65) and a eeepc 1000h. It was great and I loved it but I could never get the TX to work with the e65 and the battery sorta died anyway (I got a replacement but you cant charge a fresh battery off the USB charger, and I seem to have lost my wall charger along the line)

Anyway, its now E65 when just need something quick (has wifi for hotspots and im also on a data plan when i cant get a hotspot) and eee when i have time to sit down and type (either though its wifi or through the e65 as a data modem via bluetooth).

Archos 5 is my current favorite (5, Informative)

russg (64596) | more than 5 years ago | (#27116601)

Have a look at the Archos devices. You can pickup some of the older models with Wifi as refurbished.
My Archos 5 is my, surf, watch movies, store data, listen to music, and play games device. The current 5 and 7 are called "Internet Media Tablets".
With Opera as the browser and flash support its really a nice internet experience for a small device.

*NO* for Windows Mobile devices, thats for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27116707)

Mobile Internet explorer is useless. The best you can get on windows mobile is Opera Mini. But that mimics iphone/ipod touch behaviour, so it's better to have a iphone instead.

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