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Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the beginning-of-the-end dept.

Handhelds 272

An anonymous reader writes "Here's another story of a tech gadget that arrived before its time. Nokia created a web-ready tablet running EPOC (later to be renamed as Symbian) thirteen years ago. The tablet was set to go into full production, and they actually built a thousand units just before it was canceled. The tablet was scrubbed because market research showed there wasn't demand for the device. The team got devices for themselves and the rest were destroyed. The team was then fired. The lesson: Don't try to be pioneer if you're relying on market research studies."

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Yeah, probably a VGA screen (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771515)

and resistive touchscreen, USB 1.0, running on AA batteries.

In other words, not ready for prime time.

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (1)

Altus (1034) | about 4 months ago | (#46771613)

assuming its a touch screen at all.

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 4 months ago | (#46771807)

Remember the Nokia 770 [wikipedia.org] ? That did not sell that much either and was another Nokia tablet. They never knew how to commercialize products that well.

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772123)

They never knew how to commercialize products that well.

Speaking as an ex Nokian here; though one who escaped around 2004 when I realised things were had gone downhill and were going much worse:

Nokia was excellent at commercializing many things. What made Nokia win over Ericsson and everyone else was logistics, advertising and sales; the fundamentals of commercialisation. The product handling was perfectly designed to deliver the best, most reliable (== lowest support cost) thing at the least price. Then the management went onto a "five phones every six months" cycle and paused any chance of making things that win. They; sorry; OPK specifically; believed that technology and quality was irrelevant. That the brand was all that mattered and that you could sell anything with the Nokia brand. They did wake up later and start to produce excellent things like the Noka N9, however most of the Nokia Mobile Phones people still don't understand why that was better than the windows phones (hint; try having 2000 contacts in a windows phone) and just believe in shiny shiny.

It's not enough to commercialise. If it was, Lumia would work. You just can't easily sell crap. You have to have a good product that people serious users start to deeply love. An old, original, Nokia 6310 is still a better product than any phone on the market today. In some places the sales price for one of those is much much higher than the price of a new Lumia. If the people who made and marketed the 6310 had pushed the N9 and especially the N950 in the same way then the story would be completely different.

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 4 months ago | (#46772085)

13 years ago, it was stylus-city, everywhere.

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (1)

narcc (412956) | about 4 months ago | (#46772591)

Yeah, now everyone wishes we had them back.

No, those fat crayon styluses don't count.

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (5, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | about 4 months ago | (#46772107)

That's the thing The capacitive multitouch screen makes tablets practical. Before that they were just toys. Nokia made the right call for the time.

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (3, Insightful)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 months ago | (#46772445)

Why is capacitive touch so important? Multi-touch is cool but I use my Android phone all the time and for just about everything. The only multi-touch gesture I even know is pinch zoom/out. I go whole days without using that and if I didn't have it some sort of disappearing slider would suit me just fine.

I miss the resistive touch screen on my Sharp Zaurus. No, I didn't HAVE to use the stylus. For the normal stuff I do with my capacitive touch screen now I usually just 'clicked' with my fingernail. But... if I wanted to draw a picture, write something (actual handwriting), or use tiny controls (such as desktop apps via VNC) I could do that with a stylus. Capacitive touch screens CANNOT DO THAT!!! they are way too inprecise.

Ideally I would like to have both. My understanding is that some company has a patent on a touch screen which is basically just both a capacitive and a resistive sensor stacked. That way you can have precise single-touch sensing AND multitouch. I have yet to see any product though. It is just wonderful that we have a system where companies can patent good ideas without ever making them available to people who might want to buy them!

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (4, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#46772583)

Why is capacitive touch so important? Multi-touch is cool but I use my Android phone all the time and for just about everything.

It's not only about multitouch. Capacitive touchscreens are more accurate to use with a bare finger than resistive ones, which call for a stylus.

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 4 months ago | (#46772803)

>Why is capacitive touch so important

Because most resistive screens sucked, that's why. I worked with quite a number of them, and yeah, sometimes they worked with a thumbnail, and sometimes they didn't. Not acceptable for use.

We had these and a number of other tablets. If you wanted to actually get anything done, you used a stylus.

http://www.fujitsu.com/hk/news... [fujitsu.com]

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#46772163)

In other words, not ready for prime time.

Indeed. There were tablet computers in the 1990s and even 1980s. Tablets didn't become mainstream in the 2010s because someone just thought of it, but because acceptable hardware was finally available.

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (5, Funny)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 4 months ago | (#46772283)

Moses even had tablets, but they were pretty slow I'm told.

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772425)

Slow? They barely moved. And they were heavy!

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 4 months ago | (#46772315)

To be honest, I think capacitive touch is what made tablets and smartphones take off. Nothing else had a bigger impact for me. I did use a PDA with a stylus for a couple years in college. It was just a toy. Just not good enough to be taken seriously.

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 months ago | (#46772451)

I would happily sacrifice the multi-touch capability that capacitive screens bring to get back the precision of a resistive one.

Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 4 months ago | (#46772759)

i was working with touchscreens from AMX and Centron , admitedly at $10K+ a piece that had responsiveness not far off modern ipads.

The tech was there, the pricepoint however was not.

ob Henry Ford (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771545)

"If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse"

Re:ob Henry Ford (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 months ago | (#46771741)

Then there's the customer surveys that ask people if they'd like to see more salads and healthy foods in McDonalds.

Of course they'd like to SEE it...but that's not why they go to McDonalds.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 months ago | (#46771971)

"Well, you’re obviously being totally naive of course", said the girl, "When you’ve been in marketing as long as I have, you'll know that before any new product can be developed it has to be properly researched. We’ve got to find out what people want from fire, how they relate to it, what sort of image it has for them." The crowd were tense. They were expecting something wonderful from Ford.

"Stick it up your nose," he said.

"Which is precisely the sort of thing we need to know," insisted the girl, "Do people want fire that can be fitted nasally?"

"And the wheel," said the Captain, "What about this wheel thingy? It sounds a terribly interesting project."

"Ah," said the marketing girl, "Well, we're having a little difficulty there."

"Difficulty?" exclaimed Ford. "Difficulty? What do you mean, difficulty? It's the single simplest machine in the entire Universe!"

The marketing girl soured him with a look.

"Alright, Mr. Wiseguy," she said, "if you're so clever, you tell us what colour it should be."

Re:ob Henry Ford (1)

dleewo (80434) | about 4 months ago | (#46772139)

"If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse"

...except no one can confirm he actually said that: http://blogs.hbr.org/2011/08/henry-ford-never-said-the-fast/

Re:ob Henry Ford (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46772373)

"It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."
â" Steve Jobs

This one *is* genuine.

I never said that. (2)

westlake (615356) | about 4 months ago | (#46772769)

"If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse"

Too often, a quote is attributed to Ford simply because its touches upon success in business or innovation: He has become a patron saint of the entrepreneur... One of the more popular of these quotations is, ''If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse,'' which has never been satisfactorily traced to Henry Ford. In fact, the quote only begins to appear in the early 21st century, ''quoted'' by modern-day business gurus using it as an object lesson.

Henry Ford's quotations [thehenryford.org]

What people wanted was clean, affordable. mechanical horse power.

The carriage without the horse. The barn. The stable-boy. The veterinarian. The manure pit.

In other words (2)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 4 months ago | (#46771547)

don't be a Commodore.

Re:In other words (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#46771743)

Don't listen to your markedroids is enough.

The sad part here... (2)

DontBlameCanada (1325547) | about 4 months ago | (#46771569)

... is that the vast majority of senior executives won't learn from these mistakes. They'll all listen to some talking head consultant (that they paid way too much for) consult some sort of magic crystal ball and claim "it won't fly!" What should've been the indication that it might catch on is the quote, "The team got devices for themselves."

If the engineers think it's cool enough that they want one for personal use, it's probably a product that has a use that could be expanded from the tech-geek segment into something profitable.

Re:The sad part here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771691)

They probably made the right decision for the time.

Until apple entered the market *NO* one was making money on tablets.

People wanted a bigger ipad uhhh i mean iphone. They got it.

Re:The sad part here... (3, Interesting)

Altus (1034) | about 4 months ago | (#46771727)

Honestly, looking at the design of that thing, I am not so sure it had a viable market. There were few wireless networks set up in 2000 it wasn't a given that every home had one. Cell data was expensive and slow. The device seems unwieldy and large and the controls don't look like they would be particularly easy to use. Also, what OS does it run, can it do anything but surf the web? Was the web on its own interesting enough in 2000 to make this a killer device? No streaming movies and TV shows, Spotify or any of those interesting services.

Finally, what was the price going to be? Back then 500 would have been a tough sell and I would not be surprised if this device was more expensive than that.

Timing really is everything. The tech needed to reach a certain level and honestly the web had to reach the point where having it in your hand and on the go was valuable to consumers. Sure you can't just ask people what they want but you also have to consider that a lot of things were different 13 years ago.

Re:The sad part here... (1)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about 4 months ago | (#46771841)

Also, what OS does it run, can it do anything but surf the web?

EPOC [wikipedia.org] per TFA.

Re:The sad part here... (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 4 months ago | (#46772255)

Was the web on its own interesting enough in 2000 to make this a killer device?

Yes, it was. Were you still wading on CompuServ and Usenet or something at the time? :)

Also, what OS does it run, can it do anything but surf the web?

EPOC could do lots more than surf the web; it had apps for all the obvious personal-assistant functions (calendar, notes, to-do, contacts) and had a decent ecosystem of third-party apps. It powered the Psion PDAs (clamshells with decent thumb keyboards and stylus input), and was head-and-shoulders bettter than PalmOS or WinCE (its contemporaries) in terms of stability and ability to run on low-power hardware. I nursed one of the later Psions along for years after they were discontinued, until the iPhone came along and there was finally another pocket computer worth switching too. The devices' main weakness (other than nonexistent marketing) was the state of mobile connectivity in their day: slow-n-crappy cellular data, hard-to-find local wireless, and dial-up.

Re:The sad part here... (1)

Altus (1034) | about 4 months ago | (#46772459)

You are comparing this device to other devices that honestly lacked the kind of popular appeal that modern tablets do. Sure, it was running a great OS for the time but that OS did not have the kind of app ecosystem that the iPad does. That ecosystem is pretty critical to the popularity of the device.

and yes, check the UID, I was on line in 2000, quite a bit before that actually, and frankly the web was not the most interesting place for the mainstream. Sure, for hard core geeks it was great but that was not going to be enough to kick off a serious change in the way normal people interacted with technology.

When the iPad came out we already had a really rich web experience available, people had already started supporting mobile safari extensively thanks to the iPhone and there was an existing ecosystem of high quality apps available and plenty of companies and engineers available who's goal was to grow that eco system. This device had none of that and without that it was not going to be successful. Honestly I am not so sure that the iPad would have even managed to take off if it were not for the iPhone that came before it, to pull it off when all wireless bandwidth was slow and expensive and the web was a mostly static place to read news and there were no social networks to speak of.... most people would not have use for such a device.

Plus, we still don't know what it would have cost, which is another huge barrier to adoption.

Re:The sad part here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772313)

It's possible it would have flopped anyway.

That thing looks pretty unweildy. Microsoft had also been doing tablets for about a decade at that point without getting traction. I think Bill Gates regarded tablets as "the next big thing". He was somewhat right. He just thought it was going to be his tablets, but he just couldn't offer a tablet that anyone wanted, and that still hasn't changed much since.

The lesson... (1, Insightful)

fintux (798480) | about 4 months ago | (#46771587)

I would rather put it: Don't rely on market research studies, if you want to be a pioneer. If Henry Ford had asked his customers what they wanted, they would have said "We want faster horses".

Re:The lesson... (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#46771665)

In 1900, most people fundamentally didn't understand what a car was or was capable of- having never seen on.

In 2001, it was the same deal with tablets. Although there were some earlier pseudo-tablets from Palm and Apple.

Market research works very well for improving established existing products. People can answer "what do you like and not like about the product you currently use".

Not a market back then (5, Insightful)

butalearner (1235200) | about 4 months ago | (#46771591)

The reason tablets became popular is because people had begun to use their phones in similar ways, and the price wasn't too outrageous. Microsoft had tablets before they became popular, too, but they didn't kick off the tablet craze. Pioneering technology is one part tech, ten parts timing.

Re:Not a market back then (1)

butalearner (1235200) | about 4 months ago | (#46771615)

The reason tablets became popular is because people had begun to use their phones in similar ways, and the price wasn't too outrageous. Microsoft had tablets before they became popular, too, but they didn't kick off the tablet craze. Pioneering technology is one part tech, ten parts timing.

...and a whole lot of marketing, I should have added.

Re:Not a market back then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771977)

> ...and a whole lot of marketing, I should have added.

No amount of marketing turns s*** to gold.

2001 technology and ecosystem (Internet, wireless networks, app stores, UI...) weren't ready for tablets.

Re:Not a market back then (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 4 months ago | (#46772229)

But marketing can turn a bunch of common rocks into precious diamonds.

Furthermore, it isn't hard to fail at marketing to the point where nobody wants your gold since they're convinced it's probably pyrite, or perhaps you coated the gold in shit so everyone assumes it's a solid lump of shit.

Re:Not a market back then (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#46771711)

Timing is very important. If the first to market always won, we would all be using Apple Newton 17s.

But marketing is critically important too.

Re:Not a market back then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771779)

20 years ago, Microsoft [wikipedia.org] had a tablet PC. It didn't sell because the hardware technology was too clumsy to be useful. Big, heavy, slow, low battery life, and it was in the days before rampant wifi everywhere.

Doing something first doesn't earn you a market. Doing something well enough and advertising it with all your might has a good chance of earning you a market. Doing a tablet PC well required around 15 years more miniaturization and an odd popular obsession with wireless LAN.

Re:Not a market back then (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 4 months ago | (#46771869)

And size.

A 10 inch tablet, with a good screen is a way more pleasant device than a 13 inch tablet, likely twice the weight and thickness, with a 2001 screen.

Re:Not a market back then (0, Flamebait)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 4 months ago | (#46771881)

There were many tablets released before the iPad that did not sell that well. What Apple does have is a massive propaganda machine and enough gullible users to buy anything they put available in droves.

Re:Not a market back then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772199)

Yeah, that's exactly it. Apple fools tens of millions of people into buying their stuff, and then fools them into doing it again when they're ready to get a new one.

You're a fucking idiot.

Re:Not a market back then (0)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 4 months ago | (#46772327)

I did not say their products sucked. But when you have end users preordering product by the millions before anyone had a chance to try it out what can you call those people but gullible?

There is a reason why people claimed Steve Jobs had a reality distortion field you know. The fact is the products are not that good right now to justify the demand even if they were at points. How can you explain that by anything other than marketing?

Re:Not a market back then (2, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#46772571)

I did not say their products sucked. But when you have end users preordering product by the millions before anyone had a chance to try it out what can you call those people but gullible?

Pre-orders didn't start until 2 months after the iPad had been demonstrated by Jobs. 2 months in which all the tech press reviewed it. And it was hardly an unknown to everyone who's already experienced iOS on an iPhone.

Compared with the lack of knowledge which most people have when they buy products, they were pretty well informed.

There is a reason why people claimed Steve Jobs had a reality distortion field you know. The fact is the products are not that good right now to justify the demand even if they were at points.

That's not a fact. That's your ill-informed opinion. Big difference.

I call them early adopters. I call you an imbecile.

Re:Not a market back then (1)

penguinboy (35085) | about 4 months ago | (#46772791)

They weren't ordering completely blind. With three models each of the iPhone and iPod Touch released before the iPad, I would say purchasers had a pretty good idea what they were getting into.

Re:Not a market back then (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 4 months ago | (#46772289)

While the marketing certainly played a big part in that, a bigger factor was likely that technology was finally ready. From the article, Nokia's tablet had a 4 hour battery life and weight more than four pounds... the bezel had 2.5x the surface area of the screen itself!

The thing wasn't a tablet, it was a portable Internet kiosk.

Re:Not a market back then (1)

rsclient (112577) | about 4 months ago | (#46771933)

I've used some of the earlier "internet tablets" (e.g., the Nokia N800) and PDA. Early machines had real issues with being powerful enough to actually work well -- something my low-end phone still struggles with.

(Not to mention the terrible, terrible connection managers. For one particularly horrid PDA, I spent more time trying to get on the internet than actually using the internet)

Re:Not a market back then (1)

Klivian (850755) | about 4 months ago | (#46771949)

Microsoft had tablets before they became popular, too, but they didn't kick off the tablet craze.

They did not become popular, but the major factor for that was simply price. Those tablet was ridicolusly expesive, they cost 3-10 times a similary specced laptop(CPU/RAM/Disk). What was sold, was geared to special user scenarious suporting dedicated use cases. Not general consumer use.

Had affordable devices been avalible, the form factor would have had much more success earlier. Wich again would have led to better touch UI, by evolution. The market side would have ended up close to todays levels, but not with the expolsive growth. But a 5-10 years head start would have evened that out.

Re:Not a market back then (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 4 months ago | (#46772357)

This. The tablet was held back for nearly a decade by Intel and Microsoft insisting that it had to be a convertible laptop. Microsoft wanted to make sure each tablet sales was a Windows license sale, and Office too if they could. Intel wanted to make sure each tablet sale was was an x86 CPU sale, and a high-end CPU too if they could. Consequently, the tablet PC market stagnated at fewer than 100,000 sales per year for close to a decade.

The real technology that led up to tablet market space wasn't the smartphone; it was the netbook. Suddenly people realized that most of the stuff they did on laptops (email, web browsing, myspace/facebook, listening to music, watching movies), they could do just fine on devices which didn't run Windows and didn't have a PC-like CPU, and consequently could be cheaper than a laptop, not more expensive like tablet PCs were.

Re:Not a market back then (1)

romanval (556418) | about 4 months ago | (#46772019)

Microsoft indeed tried to get their Tablet to sell over 10 years ago, but their mistake was in adapting Window UI directly into a tablet without adapting the user interface. A pure hands-only tablet has no stylus, no resizeable windows and must support multiple finger touches + gestures.. which is totally different then WIMP. The genius of Steve Jobs is he figured that out early on and directed his engineers to tackle it appropriately- (hence a totally separate UI interface stack for OS X; hence iPhone OS = OS X core + different UI)

Steve Jobs also had the vision to know that people will accept something they've never seen before... as long as the usability is good beyond a reasonable doubt.

Re:Not a market back then (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 4 months ago | (#46772193)

they didn't kick off the tablet craze [at least imho] because
1) Bill demanded they use stylus's. even after the iPad came out, he still publicly claimed tablets using stylus were better/preferred
2) Bill DIDN'T demand that the Office team make a version of Office that worked with the tablet UI. The head of the office team refused to alter office to use any tablet-specific API's, so the tablet OS guys had to code ways for the keyboard to hide/show at the right time in office at the OS level, so it never really worked well.

1 I can kind of understand, as Bill never had a great understanding of hardware and where it was going, but 2 I don't, because Bill was in charge of MS, and tablets was something he seemed [at least initially] to be very into, and to let the Office guy tell the tablet group to fuck off just doesn't make sense.

Re:Not a market back then (3, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 4 months ago | (#46772223)

While timing did play a part, I'd suggest it's not so much timing as it is execution that made the biggest difference, in this case.

Android and iOS tablets operate in broadly the same ways as each other and are wildly successful. Windows 8 tablets, which work in much the same way as the Windows tablets that preceded them (i.e. trying to bring the feel of a desktop OS to a tablet form factor), are failing to gain any significant presence in the market, despite having the right timing and loads of marketing. To me, that's a strong indication that the thing holding back tablets prior to iOS and Android arriving was not that people weren't ready for them, but that the tablet concept simply wasn't executed properly.

Same deal with smartphones. Smartphones were around since the '90s, but they only represented an incredibly small portion of the cell phone market. Fast forward a few years, and we get Android and iOS, which, when they first came out, had most of the same features as the smartphones that preceded them, yet they implemented and executed those in a drastically different way that made them much more compelling to users. Blackberry and Palm had the right timing, since they were there from the beginning. What they lacked was proper execution to bring it to the general population.

You're right that there wasn't a market back then, but there wasn't a market because there wasn't a product done right yet. Ideas are cheap. Execution is what matters.

Innovation (1, Funny)

Terminus32 (968892) | about 4 months ago | (#46771605)

Take that Apple!

Le Sigh.... (3, Informative)

John Bokma (834313) | about 4 months ago | (#46771749)

The Newton platform is a personal digital assistant developed by Apple Inc.. Development of the Newton platform started in 1987 and officially ended on February 27, 1998. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N... [wikipedia.org]

The MessagePad is the first series of personal digital assistant devices developed by Apple Computer for the Newton platform in 1993. Some electronic engineering and the manufacture of Apple's MessagePad devices was undertaken in Japan by the Sharp Corporation. The devices were based on the ARM 610 RISC processor and all featured handwriting recognition software and were developed and marketed by Apple. The devices ran the Newton OS. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Le Sigh.... (1)

Tsolias (2813011) | about 4 months ago | (#46771863)

Le doubleSigh avec triple facepalm. PDA 1984 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Le Sigh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771961)

In what way on earth is that calculator a PDA?

Re:Le Sigh.... (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 4 months ago | (#46771921)

Before that there were organizers from Casio, Sharp, etc. Also besides Palm in the US, Psion PDAs were popular in Europe.

Re:Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771777)

I'm puzzled. Why does the existence of a tablet that no one has ever seen, and may or may not look anything at all like an iPad make apple not inovative?

Re:Innovation (4, Funny)

Serenissima (1210562) | about 4 months ago | (#46772049)

Because this is Slashdot. Anytime there's ANY post (positive or negative) about Apple, Microsoft, or any other large technology company, there will always be an inane, anti-"whichever company is being discussed" comment from the person who says, "You still use [product/software/operating system] from [company]?? The only true way to use a computer is by using the command line on [random Linux distro] running off of a Beowulf Cluster of Raspberry Pi's - Just like I have setup!!! If you use anything else, you're a loser!"

And there's always that guy somewhere. It's uncanny.

Re:Innovation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772367)

Because, much like people around here think that some vaguely related concept to a patent obviously invalidates it as prior art, anyone that made any kind of tablet before Apple means that the iPad is a cheap imitation of whatever completely failed and useless product they are pointing to.

They all seem to forget what the "mobile web" was before MacWorld 2007 showed us a real browser running on a phone. You know, those shitty text-based WAP versions of web sites that nobody actually used because it was worse than what you could have gotten with NCSA Mosaic on a 14.4 modem?

There were probably several of these false starts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771655)

Intel had a web tablet in the same timeframe, also with a limited manufacturing run, that was killed just before reaching the market. Though as usual with Intel products, there had to been an x86 PC in the mix.

http://www.cnet.com/news/before-apples-ipad-there-was-the-intel-ipad-seriously/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihUjWMUUWHM

Re:There were probably several of these false star (1)

AcidTag (528338) | about 4 months ago | (#46771847)

3 years before Intel. Cyrix at Comdex 98' with their WebPad. x86 CPU, Harris wireless, Resistive touch screen.

https://archive.org/details/CC... [archive.org]

Re:There were probably several of these false star (1)

Klivian (850755) | about 4 months ago | (#46772103)

And yoy have the Acorn NewsPAD from '96, you know from the gang that created the ARM :-)

http://acorn.chriswhy.co.uk/Co... [chriswhy.co.uk]

Tablets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771663)

They've been around for a long time. I specifically remember a monochrome Windows 3.1 device that was embedded in a note pad. Windows for Pen Computing I think they called it, You could write notes on the paper on the right hand side of the note pad and your scribbles were translated to the device on the left hand side. I think it was a 386.

"No mobile ecosystem" (5, Informative)

poptix (78287) | about 4 months ago | (#46771667)

Bull. Palm/Handspring devices had a ton of apps around then, I had a Handspring Prism w/ GSM module that I could IRC, SSH, browse the web and whatever else from in 2000.

My Symbian phone not-too-long-after (Nokia 6600) had all the same apps in a more compact package. The whole 'mobile ecosystem' did NOT begin with Apple or Android.

Re:"No mobile ecosystem" (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 4 months ago | (#46771739)

Mobile apps? no

Mobile *ecosystem*?

That's a different story. Scrublands in the desert is an ecosystem. I wouldn't call it as lush as a rainforest. The mobile ecosystem prior to the iPhone was pretty barren. I used to use a Windows mobile 5 iPaq back in the day and the ecosystem was bare AND confusing(Are you using a MIPS CE device? ARM? Do you even know? etc.).

Re:"No mobile ecosystem" (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 4 months ago | (#46772129)

Yup. [thebestpag...iverse.net]

It's like these people have never heard of Handango. They're so ignorant it is funny.

What a shame (1)

kwiecmmm (1527631) | about 4 months ago | (#46771677)

If they made 1000 of them initially, why not take them to a trade show and see what kind of reaction that they got.

Instead they threw out 800 of these units and removed it from their memories.

Got to play with 1 of these or something similar.. (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 4 months ago | (#46771685)

2001. Touchscreen. Ran a Gecko-based UI. Thought it was way cool. Thought for sure they'd be out on the market within a year or two of that.

If it wasn't the Nokia unit, then someone else was working on something very similar.

Zontar - prove your words here libeler (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771813)

"You barge into discussions with your off-topic hosts file nonsense" - by Zontar The Mindless (9002) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:51PM (#46731153) FROM -> http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Show us all a post where I put up material on hosts where it doesn't apply & is OFF TOPIC.

You can't, obviously, can you? Nope... lol! That makes YOU a lying bullshitter.

---

"for a crapware host files app that nobody in his right mind wants to allow anywhere close to his system" - by Zontar The Mindless (9002) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @12:24PM (#46769393) FROM -> http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

You say my program's useless?

Disprove 17 points here showing hosts give uses more speed, security, reliability, & anonymity if my program's useless http://start64.com/index.php?o... [start64.com]

---

You also said MY program is a virus?

I disproved that too here WITH PROOF FROM A RELIABLE & REPUTABLE SOURCE IN THE SECURITY COMMUNITY who hosts my app (malwarebytes hpHosts) which you are FREE TO VERIFY by email if you like as MY proof!

http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

(Which I always produce from reputable sources, NOT fellow "trolls" whom I have destroyed, like I am destroying YOU loser (see ps below)):

---

You said by turning up cpu priorities in my program I am turning off the processscheduler?

"He's effectively turning off the Windows process scheduler to make his process run faster." - FROM -> http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Again: How would the process scheduler be turned off by doing that?

APK

P.S.=> Can't get out of your crap now, can you? Nope... same with using arstechnica as your backers - BIG mistake!

I annihilated arstechnica, & outside their private playpen where THEY STALKED ME TO, no less!

Funny:

You can't seem to explain WHY Jeremy Reimer and Jay Little's websites were removed by CrystalTech &/or Shaw CA hosting providers

IF I am "so bad", why did THAT happen to them? apk

Re:Zontar - prove your words here libeler (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772043)

I have to say, I've been reading your psychotic rants for years, and I'm really intrigued as to what you're like in real life. I can't say I'd like to meet you, but I'd love to observe you with say, 4 or 5 inches of bulletproof glass between us.

PS Please learn the meaning of libel

Re:Zontar - prove your words here libeler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772061)

zontar anoncoward trolling + illogical ad hominem attacks != effective when you are mental multiple personality disorder http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org] + manic depression http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Zontar, downmods can't hide you running (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772097)

"You barge into discussions with your off-topic hosts file nonsense" - by Zontar The Mindless (9002) on Friday April 11, 2014 @09:51PM (#46731153) FROM -> http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Show us all a post where I put up material on hosts where it doesn't apply & is OFF TOPIC.

You can't, obviously, can you? Nope... lol! That makes YOU a lying bullshitter.

---

"for a crapware host files app that nobody in his right mind wants to allow anywhere close to his system" - by Zontar The Mindless (9002) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @12:24PM (#46769393) FROM -> http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

You say my program's crapware?

Disprove 17 points here showing hosts give uses more speed, security, reliability, & anonymity if my program's useless http://start64.com/index.php?o... [start64.com]

---

You also said MY program is a virus?

I disproved that too here WITH PROOF FROM A RELIABLE & REPUTABLE SOURCE IN THE SECURITY COMMUNITY who hosts my app (malwarebytes hpHosts) which you are FREE TO VERIFY by email if you like as MY proof!

http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

(Which I always produce from reputable sources, NOT fellow "trolls" whom I have destroyed, like I am destroying YOU loser (see ps below)):

---

You said by turning up cpu priorities in my program I am turning off the processscheduler?

"He's effectively turning off the Windows process scheduler to make his process run faster." - FROM -> http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Again: How would the process scheduler be turned off by doing that?

APK

P.S.=> Can't get out of your crap now, can you? Nope... same with using arstechnica as your backers - BIG mistake!

I annihilated arstechnica, & outside their private playpen where THEY STALKED ME TO @ Windows IT Pro forums http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org] , no less!

Funny:

You can't seem to explain WHY Jeremy Reimer and Jay Little's websites were removed by CrystalTech &/or Shaw CA hosting providers

IF I am "so bad", why did THAT happen to them? apk

It was probably the right decision (3, Informative)

linuxguy (98493) | about 4 months ago | (#46771751)

Tablets only became popular when they got to their current form and pricing level. The older tablets and specifically this Nokia one wasn't going to be popular.

UGLY! (2)

neonv (803374) | about 4 months ago | (#46771755)

That tablet is ugly and looks difficult to use. That marketing team was absolutely right, that tablet would have failed. It's not the idea of a tablet that made Apple successful, but aesthetics and general usability.

13 years ago, eh? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#46771757)

That would be 2001. I had a PDA (Pocket PC) at that time that was internet-capable. However, when wi-fi was not yet widespread, the only way you could get on the internet with the thing was a complicated modem setup, plugging a cable into an extension card. Getting data over a mobile phone link still involved the horribly primitive technology WAP. So, a fat lot of good your portable device did you. The smartphone and the tablet could not really take off until wi-fi and cheap 3G did.

Second Guessing 13-year old market research (2)

ZahrGnosis (66741) | about 4 months ago | (#46771773)

Thirteen years ago the network infrastructure wasn't in place to let people do with a tablet what they do now, so the market research at the time may have been spot on. You can't really second-guess it now. I mean, sure, it may have become wildly popular, but Nokia actually entered the tablet space around 2005 with the 770 and even that was rather premature by today's tablet standards. Four years LESS of infrastructure, apps, and internet-addiction wasn't going to help any tablet succeed. And while the article hints that the early designers would have made different choices with the 770, there's no guarantee they would have made a difference. There were no killer apps -- no facebook, twitter, or instagram that people just HAD to have access to all the time. No reliable data network. Definitely no YouTube or Netflix. PDAs were slowly becoming popular, but they were very personal -- glorified address books and note taking devices.

It would be nice if the team were rewarded and kept on to make use of the technology somewhere and grow the market, but it's not like they were the first -- the Newton, and devices from HP and DEC were all in development much earlier than this -- and no matter how much of a "pioneer" you think someone may be, they do need a market; either you have to build it or wait for it if it doesn't exist, but just because a device can be created doesn't mean that the entire experience was ready-to-go.

Remember the Edsel! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771797)

Marketing studies showed that it was exactly the kind of car the American middle class was clamoring for.

Nokia destroyed tablet, M$ destroyed Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771817)

So what, they just destroyed tabled. Many years later M$ sabotage came over and destroyed profitable company.
Lesson learned. Never trust evil M$, they will buy you or destroy you.

Sounds like Xerox all over again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771859)

Sounds like Xerox all over again.

Ah, those were the days (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 4 months ago | (#46771867)

Back when some of us were clamoring for an iOpener to add touch screen and HDD hacks, tinkering with Panasonic touch-screen large palm sized gadgets (forgot the model, still have it in box) and all that stuff. A few more were out there and fizzled too, missed this one.

no wifi back then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771967)

Wifi as we know it didn't exist back then. The iPad's success is that it was launched after consumers had easy access to wifi.

Not much talk about price (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 4 months ago | (#46771989)

2001? Something like that would cost $1000, bare minimum. Add that it weighs four pounds without a keyboard? They made the right call.

If, of all words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are, "It might have been,"
More sad are these we daily see:
"It is, but hadn’t ought to be."


.

It does not matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46771991)

It does not matter what they had.
Nokia produced $hitty, plastic, El Cheapo, phones for a decade. Coupled with the worst OS the humans have ever seen (Symbian).
When the iPhone hit the market, it seemed like an extraterrestrial entity, from a construction and OS ease to use POV.
And, BTW, Moses had a tablet since before anyone else.

They were smart not to release it (2)

MrEdofCourse (2670081) | about 4 months ago | (#46771997)

I'm finding it funny that you kids never saw these. Around 2001 (not that long ago), there were a bunch of tablets being shown at CES that never caught on. Some were PCs as tablets. Some were more consumption like tablets, only with a lot less to consume.

They were slow, clunky, expensive. No YouTube, no videos (the storage was measured in MBs). They were heavy, had short battery lives and terrible screens.

The user experience of these things was really poor as well. Think WebTV.

This thing was nothing like an iPad. And it's not like as if you can really say, "like an iPad would've been in 2001". If you look at what most people use their iPads for, none of that would be possible/practical on the 2001 tablets. It's more like saying that Apple had a QuickTake digital camera, but it never really took off... amazing because today we all have digital cameras all over the place.

I applaud Nokia for developing a prototype to demo at CES, but it was a good thing they didn't take this to production.

Re:They were smart not to release it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772643)

2001 was the 13 years ago that was mentioned in the freaking title... you win.

Welcome to 1995 (1)

mveloso (325617) | about 4 months ago | (#46772035)

General Magic's and Sony's PIC-1000 had a graphical web browser back in 1995. Even back then nobody wanted one.

Re:Welcome to 1995 (1)

Arethereanyleft (442474) | about 4 months ago | (#46772717)

That must be why I have one. I think it still works...

The rest of the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772077)

The tablet was scrubbed because market research showed there wasn't demand for the device. The team got devices for themselves and the rest were destroyed. The team was then fired.

A few years later, Steve jobs "invents" the iPad and tells consumers "THIS is what you NEED". A market segment is born.

Re:The rest of the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772633)

I would have fired that team too - look at that piece of shit! That thing has to weight at least 4 pounds, and you'd have better luck carrying a whiteboard around with you than using that fucking thing. You know that it isn't a touchscreen, thus you'd need to plug in a keyboard. And it probably had a battery life measured in the tens of minutes. Don't forget that it didn't even run Symbian, but the precursor to Symbian - even a bigger piece of shit than Symbian was. And, there's no way it would have cost any less than $800 to have a shit wireless radio that didn't have any networks to talk to, no cellular data to speak of, and no applications that anyone would have wanted to use.

Why buy that giant turd when you could just buy a laptop and be done with it?

Have the people responsible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772089)

Have the people responsible for sacking the development team since been sacked?

Hardware has advanced in 13 years. (3, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 4 months ago | (#46772113)

There were a ton of internet devices a decade ago. I had drawers full of literature from a lot of companies making new ones. We wanted to use some badly for at-home patients for a research study. We didn't buy any. Why? They were expensive, and they sucked. There are reasons tablets didn't take off 13 years ago, and it had absolutely nothing to due with market-research.

pen-tablets in late 1980s (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 4 months ago | (#46772307)

Touchscreens were not really around at that time. "pen computing" was VC rage then. Apple had their own entry a fe years later called the Newton. MicroSoft unsuccessfully hawked is Pen-Windows for years.

Apples simple GUI one of breakthroughs (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 4 months ago | (#46772375)

Most of the previous tablet GUIs tried to cram the complexity of multiwindow destop on to a small tablet screen. Apple mainly enlarged the simpler, single-window phone GUI. Samsung is hawking side-by-side Android screens this year. But you really dont want to get all that much more complex than that.

Re:Apples simple GUI one of breakthroughs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772775)

LG accomplishes something of a multi-window desktop, too, in their android loader (e.g. LG G2). It allows for email and messaging windows to pop-up without exiting the application you are in. This is great for replying back one-liners without as much context switching. I don't expect either to see much 3rd party support, though, since nobody wants to immediately limit their audience to specific devices nor develop features that the majority of their customers cannot use.

13 years ago there was no widespread WiFi (1)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about 4 months ago | (#46772339)

And no Mobile internet connections. really what use is a tablet that you would need to plug a ethernet cable? Might as well just buy a laptop or a palmtop, it would probably be cheaper even back then.

I remember when WiFi routers were luxury items that only the really rich had. Tablets would never get off during those days.

We had electric cars in 1906 as well. (4, Interesting)

tekrat (242117) | about 4 months ago | (#46772611)

But it didn't mean there was a booming market for them.

But if Apple queefed in your face? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772735)

You'd inhale it like a bong rip!

I had one and there was no way in hell that was re (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46772747)

First Nokia tablet I used was in 2001. It ran EPOC32... it had so many memory problems it was unbearable. People keep praising Nokia and Symbian for their "Awesome Memory Manager" and that might be true if ALL CODE for the platform was written using their ugly ass clean up stack, but EPOC/Symbian devices damn near died when they ran out of memory.

Let's mark up Nokia's biggest mistake in all time... "Symbian isn't Windows CE... it doesn't need lots of CPU and memory". Uh... duh!!! Neither did Windows CE. What needed the memory was things like web browsers which definitely needed more than 2 megs usable memory... after all, how else would you expect to render and display a page containing 14 megs of images... oh and of course they needed to have flash too.

Symbian itself didn't suck profusely... but what did suck was Nokia's use of Symbian. The rest of the market had already moved onto 200+ Mhz processors and 16+ megs of RAM and Nokia refused to build a device with a lot of RAM and a lot of CPU to run the applications like video players, games and web browsers which are precisely what made iPhone/iPad kick them off the top.

Nokia's web pad (which is what it was at the time) was insanely underpowered (even for the time) and had way too little RAM to be useful for anything. Nokia was hellbent on never properly configuring a device since it would mean that they would cut their margin by 1% and they'd have to eat their words about how Symbian didn't need real hardware to work.

Ericsson on the other hand made an awesome webpad with lots of RAM and CPU on linux back in 2000 which never hit the market because of serious delays in the reference BlueTooth implementation... I had one of those too. :)

The real lesson (4, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | about 4 months ago | (#46772749)

"The tablet was scrubbed because market research showed there wasn't demand for the device. The team got devices for themselves and the rest were destroyed. The team was then fired. The lesson: Don't try to be pioneer if you're relying on market research studies."

Don't be a pioneer?

Yeah, I'm sure that was the lesson learned for every person who did not start up a company called "Apple" out of their garage.

Or pioneer the use of this little thing we call "Windows" on computers.

The real lesson? Market research can be dead wrong. Ask anyone on this team who would love to have a piece of that billion-dollar market today.

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