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Linux Based Nokia N800 Internet Tablet Reviewed

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the i'll-tell-you-where-you-can-put-it dept.


HHL3T writes "CoolTechZone.com has published a review of the Linux-based Nokia N800 Internet Tablet that was announced at CES 2007 back in January. The review concludes, "As it currently stands, the N800 is an absolutely amazing product for web browsing. However, it's targeted at a very exclusive market: pure technology admirers who must have the latest and greatest, regardless of its real world functionality. We wouldn't recommend you place all of your critical information on the N800, due to its limited online connectivity options and lack of a portable form factor, especially if you are a professional. But if you must have the N800, we would recommend only using it as a digital newspaper to stay abreast on the latest news, and get work done online. It's just too much of an independent platform to be able to replace anything else, such as a notebook, a smartphone or a cell phone."

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While media access is nice, apps are key (1, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | about 7 years ago | (#18782021)

That's why I use a Windows-compatible pen computer (Fujtitsy Stylistic), so that I can have (bear with me, it's an odd-ball and eclectic list) Adobe Acrobat, FontLab, FontForge, FreeHand, LyX, PhotoFiltre (this one is on trial --- may need to go back to PhotoShop or try the GIMP again, wish I'd kept my copy of Fauve xRes), WinTeXshell (w/ both MikTeX and w32tex) &c.


Re:While media access is nice, apps are key (1, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18782743)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't everything on your list except for Acrobat (I assume you mean pro) and Fontlab run on Linux? I'm currently using a combination of Wine (For Dreamweaver 8) and vmware+Win2kPro (for Crystal Reports and the Venus 1500 sign software) and have successfully moved my existence over to Linux thusly.

Re:While media access is nice, apps are key (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about 7 years ago | (#18783443)

FontForge (not FontLab) runs on Linux, so does LyX (and GIMP of course) --- pretty much everything else that I listed would have an equivalent on Linux (InkScape instead of FreeHand, KILE instead of WinTeXshell &c.).

However, I failed to include two apps which are Windows-specific and don't have really good analogues (yet), RitePen and ArtRage.

Also, EverNote (though Jarnal and some of the other Journal apps are close).

The other issue of course is how well the graphics app work w/o an active digitizer --- the N800 is touch-sensitive, right?


Re:While media access is nice, apps are key (3, Informative)

garbletext (669861) | about 7 years ago | (#18782919)

I have an n800. So far, I haven't been able to come up with a task that it can't handle. it runs a modified debian; imagine apt-get on a handheld. Most any GTK program its cpu can handle can be quickly ported by the most inexperienced programmer. If you already use linux, this device is an amazing godsend. However, I understand that this amazing ability to use all the same programs as on the desktop will be lost on someone who uses windows. Literally my only gripe is that its chipset doesn't support USB Host mode, so if you want to use an external keyboard it has to be bluetooth, or another computer attached via vnc.

Re:While media access is nice, apps are key (2, Informative)

gomiam (587421) | about 7 years ago | (#18784985)

Even if currently unsupported, there seems to be a USB Host-able chip in the N800. You can read about it here [silverfir.net]. I can't find the original page right now, but Google is your friend.

Its Linux! (2, Funny)

Samalie (1016193) | about 7 years ago | (#18782023)

That means it HAS to be good, right?

Re:Its Linux! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782215)

That means it HAS to be good, right?

I'd much rather use ntoskrnl.exe on my handheld device, as I've heard it's much more user friendly.

Re:Its Linux! (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 7 years ago | (#18782299)

That means it HAS to be good, right?
Indeed it does. Just look at the definition of Linux:

(n) - A computer operating system.
"The OS for the rest of you."
(adj) - Good; Great but never good enough.

Re:Its Linux! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18785033)

"Its Linux. That means it HAS to be good, right?"

Well yeah. that's why projects like OpenStreetMap [openstreetmap.org] are using it [openstreetmap.org] (with maemo mapper [highearthorbit.com]).

For comparison, Nokia's solution for map-on-phone is that you pay GPRS charges per-byte to download the maps, and pay them per-month to allow the phone to locate itself using cell towers, while paying them per month to allow you to use the phone at all.

The free software version of this idea is that you use maemo mapper on an N800 with a bluetooth GPS, and it downloads the maps for free from any wifi hotspot you walk past. (maps and aerial photos from google/yahoo, creative-commons maps from OpenStreetMap, whatever...)

In terms of handheld development environment for free software ("open-stack mobile phone"), it looks like a serious rival to the OpenMoko, especially since a lot of software is already available for it. Definitely more interesting than the trolltech phone just due to cost.

And compared to a regular phone, well you all know how everything has a cost on mobile phones, regardless of how trivial it appears. Imagine what a few free software ideas could do to the functionality of a phone?

I'm sure the situation is similar in other areas, maps just happen to be the one I was looking at at.

Re:Its Linux! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18786689)

"For comparison, Nokia's solution for map-on-phone is that you pay GPRS charges per-byte to download the maps, and pay them per-month to allow the phone to locate itself using cell towers, while paying them per month to allow you to use the phone at all."

Ummm... Wrong on all accounts, if you are refering to Smart2go - http://www.smart2go.com/ [smart2go.com]

You can download the maps for free, locate yourself for free (e.g. internal GPS on N95 or via external Bluetooth GPS) and what the heck does "pay them per month to use the phone"?!

You do have to pay for voice guidance. You do get to route for free though.

Slashdotted already? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782041)

Is the site already slashdotted, or does it just suck?

Awesome book reader! (5, Informative)

pugdk (697845) | about 7 years ago | (#18782077)

I bought my N800 to use mainly as a book reader and I must say its been awesome. Crisp, big, and high resolution screen, perfect for reading. I'm using one of many free software addons called fbreader for reading ebooks.

Instantly working bluetooth data connections with most carriers (I was amazed how easy it was to setup - select your carrier, turn on bluetooth on your mobile and off you go, instead of windows where you have to know setting XX ZZ and YY before you have a chance of getting connected through your mobile phone).

Wifi with as good a range as my Thinkpad T60p.

The ability to surf the web easily on a display that's *readable* everywhere you want to.

Way better battery performance than my PDA which features a screen half the size...

Did I mention it runs linux? You can run VNC, ssh etc. on it and install these apps with just a few clicks... VNC actually works quite decent (over WIFI, it blows using bluetooth, mainly due to bandwidth limitation).

All in all, I definitely don't regret buying one.


Re:Awesome book reader! (3, Informative)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 7 years ago | (#18782251)

I have a 770, and love it. You forgot to mention the mplayer port, ssh server, rdesktop client, etc. in your list :)

Re:Awesome book reader! (1)

pugdk (697845) | about 7 years ago | (#18782543)

Yup, those are some nice tools to have at your disposal as well, however I mentioned the ones I had tried myself :-).

I have yet to try and watch movies on the N800, I'm not sure if it can play "fullsize xvids" (e.g. 600+ pixels width), perhaps someone else knows.

Re:Awesome book reader! (1)

garbletext (669861) | about 7 years ago | (#18783093)

While the n800's cpu is beefier than the 770's, it's far from being able to play video that's as big as its glorious 800x480 screen. Apparently they cut some costs and the video bus can't handle the data rate that full screen video entails. So you have to transcode most video to 320x240. I'm told this might improve in future kernels. On the upside, there are several upnp media players written that you can use with a upnp media server to automatically transcode to the proper resolution and codec before sending over the network.

Re:Awesome book reader! (3, Informative)

GeneralAntilles (571325) | about 7 years ago | (#18783287)

Mostly poor programming on Nokia's part. The ARM processor that it uses actually has hardware video decoding built-in, but Nokia hasn't provided a way to access it so far. The latest firmware update did have a big bump in performance 600x360 MPEG-4 @ about 1200Kbps total works perfectly for me.

Re:Awesome book reader! (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 7 years ago | (#18783505)

Well, the trailers for Ice Age 2 that came with it played great, as do ummmm.... "educational" clips I've downloaded off the intarweb thingie... most of those were encoded at 320x240 or similar though...

handwriting? (1)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#18782361)

The article is Slashdotted. Does it do Xstroke?

Re:handwriting? (1)

urulokion (597607) | about 7 years ago | (#18784909)

I can't recall the name of the software, but what it's using is way better then XStroke. It uses a natural handwriting recognition. You can you writing the letters natrually using multiple strokes, and it will recognize them. Writing a captial E using a [ type stroke and then a short - to complete and viola. Or do a capiotal a with /, \ , - strokes or a ^ and - strokes. Or you can train it to use you recognize your handwriting.

Re:handwriting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18786217)

better then
and viola

Or you can train it to use you recognize your handwriting.

A bit of training perhaps still necessary...

Re:Awesome book reader! (1)

dr_dank (472072) | about 7 years ago | (#18782391)

Is flash available on the Nokia? If so, I'm curious if the ipk would work on my Zaurus 6000.

Re:Awesome book reader! (1)

soleblaze (628864) | about 7 years ago | (#18782763)

the n800 has flash 7. I believe it's not that optimized for the n800 or the arm in general. It has horrible flash video playback performance.

Re:Awesome book reader! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782503)

The ability to surf the web easily on a display that's *readable* everywhere you want to.

Do you mean outside on a sunny day?

Re:Awesome book reader! (3, Informative)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | about 7 years ago | (#18782689)

It has to be very bright before the screen suffers (which isn't happening yet in Denmark, not sure about full Summer sun). The screen is easily the second best part of that tablet from my point of view.

Re:Awesome book reader! (3, Interesting)

geneven (992456) | about 7 years ago | (#18785893)

I travel regularly from San Diego to LA and back by train, a 5-hour trip. I now take my N800 with me instead of a laptop. There is no wifi on the train, but I use the N800 as a book reader, mp3 player, spreadsheet, gps map device (the gps doesn't seem to work for me on the train, but the map system certainly does and gives me details about the scenery I am passing) and note-taker. I probably won't take a laptop with me next time I travel abroad, because I use this much more than my Dell Latitude. I got the N800 in January and have had no screen sensitivity problems at all. Before the firmware update, I did have to reflash several times. I added a 2 GB memory card and sent off for a 4 GB card. If you are willing to spend the bucks, you could probably have 16 GB now, room for lots of stuff. What I particularly like the N800 for is having a computer with me at all times, maybe not the best for every function, but something that will almost always do the job. I hated the feeling of leaving a cruise ship in Alaska and coming across a Wifi bar but not having bothered to lug my laptop with me. Now I'll always be ready. And I can always read more of The Forsyte Saga and The Secret Garden... (Oh! And the alarm wakes me up nicely for a 4 a.m. jog!)

Re:Awesome book reader! (1)

urulokion (597607) | about 7 years ago | (#18786109)

Maemo-mapper is the mapping program the post referred to. I'm using a Pharon Bluetooth GPS receiver, a BT Internet enabled phone, and the N800 w/ maemo-mapper and flite. It's got all the functionaly of a GPS naviation unit. It's performed as well as M$ Streets and Trips in terms of map GPS resolution accuacy. I going try to nagivate using that combo on my next road trip.

Re:Awesome book reader! (1)

stackdump (553408) | about 7 years ago | (#18786499)

So does that mean you found map packs to work, or doe the ones that came with your bluetooth reciever work. I have an n800 and the OpenMaps that came with it only had europe... unless I didn't download the right stuff.

Re:Awesome book reader! (2, Interesting)

AragornSonOfArathorn (454526) | about 7 years ago | (#18783143)

Indeed, FBReader is the killer app, imo. The screen is incredible. I suppose it's a bit expensive just to read ebooks on, but it does have a lot of other nice features, and is very hackable. Also, I got mine for 20% off from my local CompUSA, which is closing :-)

I'm currently looking for a folding bluetooth keyboard that costs less than a million dollars... with a compact keyboard, it would make a great little mobile terminal.

Re:Awesome book reader! (1)

alcmaeon (684971) | about 7 years ago | (#18783953)

"Instantly working bluetooth data connections with most carriers (I was amazed how easy it was to setup - select your carrier, turn on bluetooth on your mobile and off you go, instead of windows where you have to know setting XX ZZ and YY before you have a chance of getting connected through your mobile phone)."

Something else that is really cool is that when you connect to the phone with bluetooth, you can access the memory on the phone like an attached storage device.

So it is like all the other tablets (0, Troll)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 years ago | (#18782083)

Kinda cool but for the most part useless. These companies shout put tablet computers on the side line for a decade or so. Perhaps by then they can have enough power/size/smarts to be useful. Rightnow it is an expensive toy to play with for a few weeks then just get put aside.

Re:So it is like all the other tablets (3, Interesting)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | about 7 years ago | (#18782521)

Kinda cool but for the most part useless. These companies shout put tablet computers on the side line for a decade or so. Perhaps by then they can have enough power/size/smarts to be useful. Rightnow it is an expensive toy to play with for a few weeks then just get put aside.
On the contary. I say let them keep selling overpriced and under-powered products to people with more money than sense. Then in 5 years when it's possible to make these things affordable and practical to regular people the technology will have matured and there'll be 5 years of extra experience in how to get things right, design/interface-wise.

The bleeding edge guys get their bragging rights for a few years, the manufacturers get their R&D funding, and everyone else gets a better product in the end. Everybody wins.

Re:So it is like all the other tablets (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#18784419)

Why oh why do I have too much money and not powerful enough products!? -cries-

No seriously. Some of us find the product to match the price. I have a $400 PDA that doesn't do nearly what this does. That puts this definitely in the 'nice' price range.

Re:So it is like all the other tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18785355)

Actually this is already being done. They're called Apple users.

Re:So it is like all the other tablets (1)

althea19 (1084593) | about 7 years ago | (#18783385)

Kinda cool but for the most part useless. These companies shout put tablet computers on the side line for a decade or so. Perhaps by then they can have enough power/size/smarts to be useful. Rightnow it is an expensive toy to play with for a few weeks then just get put aside.
I have to disagree with you here. I use a Nokia 770 tablet and I find it quite useful. It definately has enough power to be useful. There is even a port of Free Civ for it (not that THAT is useful for a tablet :>). My only beef is that due to the fact that it is moreso targeted toward personal use, the contact management options available aren't great. I have yet to find one I like. Having WiFi on a device like that, with a sizeable screen is very useful to me.

Re:So it is like all the other tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18784189)

My God you're so clueless. This is no fanboy attitude either. I have the N770 and I'm pretty p'd that it's essentially being abandoned by Nokia in favor of the N800.

However, it's amazing when it comes to browsing with wifi connectivity combined with an unbelievably sharp screen. Perfect when you are traveling or away from home and need a quick connect at an open access point. Combine that with free GPS software (Maemo Mapper), free media software (Canola) and a host of other apps and it's a great (and small) tool. The N800 adds faster processor and more memory capacity so I think it pretty much can be only better than what I have in the N770.

It's not a PDA and not a phone and is definitely not for the typical consumer. Use your cell phone as a phone and address book

This machine.. (1)

GonzoTech (613147) | about 7 years ago | (#18782119)

.. will open many a door for enthusiasts and companys alike. I've had a chance to see one of these things in action. Definitely a geek toy, but how it's marketed and what Toshiba will do with the machine in the end will be what makes or breaks this little gizmo.

Function (3, Interesting)

simpl3x (238301) | about 7 years ago | (#18782131)

As a platform the thing is very nifty, true, but it has some interesting uses as a platform if people developed with a different mindset. The 770 and this device changed my thoughts about what mobile devices should be. I'd like a small useful "phone" that acts as a local router, with devices that perform specific functionality around it. Think of the tablet as a screen for your mobile.

As an ADD'er, I'm interested in how I can create tools for keeping me on track. The 800 can sit at the desk, act as a radio, run widgets, and act as something like Xerox's multiple display system. There aren't a whole lot of thought tools in this area (mobile), and a lot of opportunity. I'm happy that Nokia has the gumption to put something like this on the market. Your mileage may vary...

Re:Function (2, Informative)

ErikInterlude (784049) | about 7 years ago | (#18782393)

I'm aware of a project called myStep [quantum-step.com], which is supposed to shoehorn the GNUstep [gnustep.org] application framework set into mobile devices. It's basically an Open Source effort to create a Mac-like interface for mobile devices. I don't know what they're doing with the 800, but I know the Nokia 770 was a target they were shooting for.

Developers seem to speak well of OpenStep APIs (Mac OS X/GNUstep), so if myStep is refined enough, maybe it could be a good avenue for introducing apps for mobile devices as you were suggesting.

not suitable for some applications (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782157)

apparently they are using one as their web server.

+1 funny (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782227)


I'm tempted (3, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 7 years ago | (#18782271)

What I really want is this thing, with a real cell phone feature as well. That way I'd rig it to receive calls via skype and fail over to the cell when wifi wasn't available. Oh, and I'd like the phone to have a prepaid option as well. There really isn't a combination I know of that has prepaid, wifi, and skpye capabilites in a single phone.

Please let me know if there is one for the US of A.

Re:I'm tempted (1)

ceeam (39911) | about 7 years ago | (#18782415)

Cheap phone. Duck tape. Nirava.

Re:I'm tempted (1)

ceeam (39911) | about 7 years ago | (#18782693)

Hmm, I wonder _how_ I misspelled Nirvana as _that_.... :-/

Re:I'm tempted (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 7 years ago | (#18783001)

Yeah, I thought about doing that, but I don't think I have the pocket space.
,br> I have the cheap phone already, Switching to it would be interesting. I'd have to tell everyone to use the new skype in number, but most of them would still use the old number and it would work. There wouldn't be much of an incentive for them to switch to the new number.

And I guess the biggest problem right now, is the lack of wifi where I am. It might happen once in a blue moon when I was in a coffee shop, but that isn't worth the price right now. I guess I have more issues than just the convergence one.

Re:I'm tempted (1)

ceeam (39911) | about 7 years ago | (#18783115)

BTW - Nokia has a whole range of hybrid GMS/WiFi-VoIP phones already.

Re:I'm tempted (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 7 years ago | (#18786603)

but not prepaid. I know it seems a crazy thing to want. But,most of my communication is through email, chats rather than phone. I don't want to pay $30 a month for a service I don't use much. I want a mobile communication device that doesn't cost a monthly fee. Why should I pay more for phone internet access at slow as dial up speeds, when my infinitely faster broadband at home is cheaper?

Re:I'm tempted (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#18782423)

People have been wanting this for years. The phone companies won't let it happen. Not for a long while anyway.

Re:I'm tempted (1)

mickey knox (460146) | about 7 years ago | (#18782695)

The question comes down to how committed you are to that actual idea. While I work for a software company in Pennsylvania, my Dad works for a company called Novatel that creates various silicon for connecting devices to cellular networks. Your dream could be a reality with the combination of one of these:
http://www.nvtl.com/products/ovation/index.html [nvtl.com]
and the appropriate drivers written on the N800 maemo platform. The N800 has a USB connection. You wouldn't have a "cell phone" per se, however, what do you need a cell phone for if you have the ability to connect data on cellular? The only time you might run into trouble is when you are in rural ares with patch cellular coverage (and as such, patchy EVDO/3G data coverage).
I happen to live in one of these areas... otherwise I'd have done it myself with my N800. Not everybody is happy with these things. They're /NOT/ laptops. Some folks seem to think they can be used as one. They're good for catching up on information and *maybe* sending a IM or two... beyond that... go find a keyboard. If you get a keyboard to go with it... honestly I could see myself doing php/html development on it.

We're getting closer. Somebody with enough determination and drive... they could do this in less than a month I'd imagine.

Abandonware (4, Informative)

arrianus (740942) | about 7 years ago | (#18782277)

The problem is that Nokia considers GNU/Linux tablets to be unsupported abandonware only 1.5 years after introduction. The tablets are loaded with proprietary and binary-only drivers and software, which means once official support goes away, you're left with a very expensive paperweight. Linux Weekly News reported [lwn.net] on this just this week.

The Reality of Bad Choices. (4, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#18782717)

The problem is that Nokia considers GNU/Linux tablets to be unsupported abandonware only 1.5 years after introduction. The tablets are loaded with proprietary and binary-only drivers and software, which means once official support goes away, you're left with a very expensive paperweight.

This is true for all the devices in it's class and is not special to GNU/Linux tablets. It's true that an all free device like the One Laptop per Child is better, but that single device is the only one I'm aware of. Everything else has to be reverse engineered and all other makers consider their PDA's, tablets, laptops and deskops to be abandonware by the LWN definition, "the End-User Software Agreement is still valid and Nokia 770 customers can make use of all their rights, same as before the N800 and the IT OS [2007] were launched."

Re:The Reality of Bad Choices. (3, Insightful)

amper (33785) | about 7 years ago | (#18785221)

That may be true, but what exactly is the point then of buying a device that runs an open OS? I mean, the whole reason I plunked down $300 for a 770 (when I knew that a replacement was in the works) is because I'm heartily sick and tired of the Palm devices I've been using (Kyocera 6135, Samsung SPH-i500, Sony Clie NX60) having absolutely no upgrades to the software available. I figured with the 770 and a new Bluetooth phone that I would be better off, but the sad fact is that there are many existing flaws in the 770, even with the latest OS update, that will likely never be fixed. Hopefully, the user community won't drop support for the 770 as quickly as Nokia has, but that remains to be seen. The potential of the 770 has barely been scratched thus far.

There's no way I'm buying an N800 after this, unless Nokia is willing to guarantee support for longer than 1.5 years. I think I'll just go for the iPhone. At least we know Apple has produced many software updates for the iPod line over several years. I don't expect the thing to be supported forever, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect support for longer than 1.5 years. My G3 iBook, which is over 4 years old, still runs the latest, greatest Mac OS X (though of course, my new MacBook Core 2 Duo is much faster at the same tasks)...why can't Nokia do the same?

Re:Abandonware (1)

V. Mole (9567) | about 7 years ago | (#18784807)

While I think Nokia is making a mistake (I was about to order an N800, changed my mind when I heard they were dropping support for the 700), lack of support doesn't make a device a "paperweight". I've got an old Audrey that hasn't been updated in 5 years, and it still works fine for the purposes for which I bought it. Sure, it won't get support for the latest flashcrap version, but hell, we Linux people should be used to that by now...

not a cell phone, but also, not just a "newspaper" (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782281)

I've got one of these, and love it. Yes, it isn't a phone, and isn't trying to be a phone, and isn't for people who wanted a phone.

It's definitely a lot more than just a web tablet though. GPE PDA software is being ported, it's got gpg and ssh and the gnumeric spreadsheet and GPS software and interfaces to online digital maps and mp3 player SW. It's got a ton of other stuff like that, coupled to a device with a best-in-class screen, built in 802.11, and around ~5 DAYS of battery life under my normal use.

It's really a nice little multifunction device and slips in my shirt pocket. The closest Sony x86 based ultraportables are about 3X the weight and volume of this thing. This won't replace a real laptop with a keyboard and so forth, but it's still a great thing to augment your laptop and you can carry it with you everywhere.

Bad sides: the case that comes with it sucks. The included mp3 player only works with tagged files, not with simple directory-sorted files. Couple of others, some of which can be fixed with SW.

That's my impression of it. I've got one with 8 Gb (2x4), but an upcoming kernel patch will allow use of high capacity SD cards for more storage.

There is not much on the market I'd trade mine for, and it's not all locked down crap that wants you to pay for each little feature you want to use like many competitors' offerings.

Re:not a cell phone, but also, not just a "newspap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782747)

"ssh and the gnumeric spreadsheet and GPS software and interfaces to online digital maps and mp3 player SW"

Hmmm. My cell phone has had those functions.....for the last 3 years. Welcome to the 21st century. We've missed you.

Re:not a cell phone, but also, not just a "newspap (1)

IANAAC (692242) | about 7 years ago | (#18783883)

This won't replace a real laptop with a keyboard and so forth...

Actually, coupled with a bluetooth keyboard, it can replace your laptop while you're traveling. Well, depending on what type of work you need to do. Abiword is quite capable on the N800, as well as Gnumeric. I've only traveled with it for 4 days so far, but in a week it will be my only device I have with me for 2 weeks. It was fine for the 4 days. It'll be interesting to see if I still feel the same way after solely using ot for 2 weeks.

Hey it is a browser I can trust (4, Interesting)

bofar (902274) | about 7 years ago | (#18782287)

I veiw my Nokia as a dedicated system for browsing my bank and stock accounts. It is cheap enough to set aside for that reason and I am confident that my interactions with these important websites are through a browser/system that has not been hacked.

Re:Hey it is a browser I can trust (2, Interesting)

DMoylan (65079) | about 7 years ago | (#18782745)

good luck to the hacker getting a keyboard logger on that! :-) probably possible with a vnc server but bloody difficult.

that been said i bought a 770 second hand and i've stopped using it. i got a nokia e61 a few weeks after buying it and i'm now using the e61 for almost everything that i bought the 770 for.

* reading etexts, the 770 and 800 are almost to big for this. if the book is a ascii text document then it is very readable on the e61. the e61 is smaller and sturdier. if it is a pdf then the larger screen of the 770 scores but some pdf's that i have for rpg's are still too big to view a full line on the screen so you have to scroll left and right to read 1 line which makes it useless. i'll probably have to wait for a commercial olpc before i get a low powered cheap device that can show a pdf in a readable format.
* browsing the web. while the 770 has a far larger screen i find the e61 ok for browsing low graphic sites. the lack of touchscreen on the e61 isn't as bad as i thought it would be. the joystick allows you to scroll very quickly around a site, slow down near a link and press it to select.
* email. google have released a mobile client for gmail so that's taken care of very nicely on the e61.
* wifi. the 770 wins here as the e61 is fussier at connecting to wifi ap. the 770 also has a far better reception.
* data entry. the e61 has a small keyboard and can be used a lot easier for entering data. playing around with python these days on the bus to and from work(if only the nokia python pdf was viewable on the e61 on the pdf viewer). the touch screen keyboard of the 770 is nice but it doesn't come close to the speed of text entry that i can achieve on the e61.
* movies and tv shows. a friend records tv onto files for his 770 and i find them very good while travelling on the bus (i use a good headset so i'm not the irritating people around me). haven't tried anything like this on the e61 but it would be possible. more likely i would get a ds lite media reader or a video ipod than transfer it to the e61.

overall i really liked the 770. still use it once in a while. it's greatest use is viewing files still on the phone, photos, video, mp3's as the file manager on the 770 can cut, copy and paste to the phone in my pocket. i don't see myself upgrading to the 800 unless some killer app comes along.

Kismet? (1)

gcatullus (810326) | about 7 years ago | (#18782357)

Sounds like a great device for scanning networks. I am assuming that you can run kismet on it anyone have any experience doing that with the Nokia?

Re:Kismet? (2, Informative)

MentalMooMan (785571) | about 7 years ago | (#18782761)

I have the predecessor to this (the Nokia 770), and it's a top-rate wifi scanner. You get all of the power and leetness of kismet without the need to lug a laptop around, which means that it's perfect for war-walking. It even has aircrack-ng ported to it, although I haven't tried it yet.

Re:Kismet? (2, Informative)

soleblaze (628864) | about 7 years ago | (#18783529)

Last time I tried kismet (about a month and a half ago) It crashed on the n800 when the screen blanked. Other than that, it works pretty well. It actually gets better reception than some laptops I've used. Not sure if they fixed that problem or not. On the 770 it works perfectly.

Be Careful if you buy one of these (4, Informative)

ewanrg (446949) | about 7 years ago | (#18782395)

The first batch of N800's have a known problem where after a few weeks of use, the right side of the device (left side if you're looking at it) stops responding to touch or can't be calibrated accurately. Since there is no way other than the touchscreen to access many of the device's functions, you then have to send it in for repairs.

Nokia will not reimburse you for the shipping cost, and has a very broken tracking mechanism. As several users at the Internet Table Talk forum [internettablettalk.com] have documented, this means that your $400 device goes back to Nokia, and you don't know when/if you'll get it back.

Re:Be Careful if you buy one of these (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18783843)

hrm, other than the statusbar, you can actually reach almost all of the device from the keys.

first, you need an application open, if you don't have one:
01. tap menu.
02. tap the down arrow four times (applet settings may or may not be disabled, but the specs for the platform say that keyboard behavior shouldn't wrap at the end) - this takes to you tools
03. tap right
04. tap down three times - this takes you to help
05. tap the hardware select key - this opens help

ok, now you need to run another application
11. press the home key - this brings up an overflow switcher menu of sorts it's not particularly important, just an unfortunate requirement for the next step
12. press the left key - this focuses the overflow widget (that you enabled in step 05)
13. press up seven times (as mentioned earlier, things don't wrap, if you had no apps open earlier, then 2 taps would take you to others, but to be safe, we're going to the top) - this takes you to the top of the task navigator (again, it's guaranteed)

14. if you want to open the first task navigator item (typically "web", but it could be "chat" or some third party thing - this is configurable in control panel under "navigation"), go to step 21.

15. press the down arrow - this will select the second task navigator item (typically "chat" ...)
16. if you want to open this item, go to step 21.

17. press the down arrow - this will select the others item
18. if you want to open this item, go to step 21.

19. if you reached this point, you could have saved yourself a lot of time by just tapping right earlier on your way up.

to open something...
21. press the right key - this will open a menu if the item is big, or if there are multiple windows associated with it - or if it's just a single app window, it'll bring that app window to the front.
22. if the item you've selected is a menu, you can walk it using the arrows
23. right would open the nested menu
24. left would close the deepest open menu
25. up would take you up the current menu (when possible)
26. down would take you down the current menu (when possible)
27. hardware select will activate the current menu item.

The average user has: Bluetooth, presence, Display, Sound, Connectivity, and Power. Of them, Bluetooth, Display and Sound are accessible via the Control panel. Connectivity is accessible via both Control panel and Connection manager (don't ask why, I have no idea). Power is not to my knowledge accessible (sorry). Presence is accessible via "Chat">Set Presence (yes, that's strange, but it is).

If you know of some other portion of the system which is not usefully accessible, please complain somewhere. (Note: complaining that screen calibration isn't accessible is uninteresting. Warning: do not try to configure bluetooth keyboard with a broken touch screen, no keyboard and aggressive use of hardware navigation keys, you will get stuck...)

As for sketching without a working touch screen, yeah, that could be a problem. I know that paintbrush/mspaint have dealt with this from the beginning of time, I'm sure some enterprising individual will introduce a way to do mouse emulation using the hardware keys.

Target Market (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | about 7 years ago | (#18782397)

"However, it's targeted at a very exclusive market: pure technology admirers who must have the latest and greatest, regardless of its real world functionality."

Um, is not that the point of creating a product, to define the market you want to capture. That would be like saying the iPhone is meant for the exclusive market: parents with too much spare cash and greedy kids who demand a $500 cell phone.

Okay, it is targeted at the technology admirers. Wait, isn't that almost all of the buyers out there who keeping upgrading their phones each time a new, slimmer model is announced? Or upgrades to the next great large screen TV? The sales folk at my company keep demanding the newest phone, the newest PDA, etc. I guess that makes them technology admirers, too.


Re:Target Market (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 7 years ago | (#18784531)

yup, I got the impression that the reviewer was quite sophomoric and couldn't finish reading the 'review'. IMO
But then again, I'd rather read a review from Tomshardware.com or arstechnica.com because of the depth they go into. This review was as if it was done by someone walking into the local Radio Shack.


So, uhhh, what you're sayin is... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782457)

...it's another worthless device to purchase and carry around, which has no real useful function other than glorified web browser.

Consumerism. Yes. Credit card debt is fun.

"It's just too much of an independent platform to be able to replace anything else, such as a notebook, a smartphone or a cell phone."

How do you guarantee a marketing failure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782571)

(And make the long haired, goatee sporting, socialist, Ben & Jerry addicts orgasm?)

Put Linux on it.

Also have one (4, Interesting)

wilburdg (178573) | about 7 years ago | (#18782631)

I gotta chime in here... I also purchased an N800 and am overall very satisfied with it. The thing is amazingly capable, especially when paired with a bluetooth keyboard. I use the Think Outside XTBTUE keyboard. The keyboard folds up to a size not much larger than the N800. I can walk around with an 802.11b/g capable, fully functional Debian based machine in my pocket, with ssh, vnc, and a keyboard that I can type on at full speed.

To be honest though, I think what really was the catalyst for my purchase was the desire to show my support for companies willing to empower and work with the opensource community, rather than against it (which is also why I purchased a SqueezeBox, [slimdevices.com] another company willing to work with their opensource customers.) Check out maemo.org for a glimpse of the N800 development community.

Nokia even had a program [maemo.org] where they allowed 500 active opensource contributors to purchase an N800 for only $99.

PS. Hear that companies? I vote with my wallet and will gladly give my money to companies that embrace opensource software.

Re:Also have one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782833)

All right then. So long as we can be assured of that one sale.

Re:Also have one (1)

althea19 (1084593) | about 7 years ago | (#18783495)

To be honest though, I think what really was the catalyst for my purchase was the desire to show my support for companies willing to empower and work with the opensource community, rather than against it
I definately have to second this statement. From what I can judge, Nokia has been doing a fantastic job collaborating with the community in relation to their Internet Tablets.

Had one since it came out (2, Informative)

soleblaze (628864) | about 7 years ago | (#18782691)

I was eying the 770 for awhile as a possible pentest platform. I ended up grabbing the n800 the week it came out. It's a pretty nifty product. Only problem with me is the lack of usbhost and the flakey wifi drivers (It puts in ghost data which skrews up some programs, like aircrack) Kismet does have a driver and works fine with it, but I believe it still freezes up when the screen blanks. The programs on it that came from the 770 still need some work to be used properly. You also have some weird endless rebooting problems if a program you install flakes out on startup. Overall it has great potential, but currently mines been regulated to running fbreader as an ebook reader. It's been the best ebook reader I've used so far, so I'm still happy with it. Oh, and for a media device.. it support rhapsody, has an fm radio (of course with horrid reception), plays web radio, and orb support has just come out for it.

PepperPad3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782725)

I have a PepperPad3 (pepper.com) that I've been completely satisfied with. I've seen the Nokia a couple of times
now and I still think that the form factor of the PP3 is preferable.

All joking aside (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782767)

Seriously, I hope this isn't as shit as Linux for PC.

Cluebat Nokia (3, Insightful)

delire (809063) | about 7 years ago | (#18782773)

When will gadget developers realise that it's completely stupid to put lots of tiny little holes around buttons?

Speakers on gadgets are all very well but like so many laptops (the widescreen Apple and some Fijitsu notebooks esp) they get full of dust and gunk if the holes are facing up or around the keypad. Get it together, sheesh. Your device doesn't exist on the drawing board, the idea is that it's actually used by (grubby) humans.

When in Rome, Do as the Geeks Do... (1)

sasshole (1089997) | about 7 years ago | (#18782823)

I bought an N800 to be my primary "connection" on an upcoming trip to Italy since I don't own a GSM phone... I am hoping reasonably available wi-fi and Gizmo Project will let me stay in touch with email/voice communications while trekking through Italy (ok, "Trekking" sounds far more adventurous than what I have planned...) So far I am really pleased with the N800. It is a great email/web browsing device while sitting in bed (and less obtrusive than the laptop). I do wish there were more applications, as I am a long spoiled Palm OS fan and have my Sprint Treo overloaded with every imaginable app... Hopefully my European plans for the N800 will succeed! Ciao!

Hmm. I wonder if they could combine this with a (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18782993)

...cell phone. That'd be cool. It'd be like a PDA I can make phone calls from. I wonder why no one has thought of that before.

I think I'm gonna hold off on buying until they invent this PDA + cell phone combo.

What about the bugs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18783087)

As anyone who has been working as a developer for the mobile world knows, many of the devices tends to be bugged. Sometimes it's serious, sometimes not. You can buy a $500+ cellphone supposed to be the top of the top and have its browser crash after viewing 4 or 5 webpages. You've also very often bugged Java Micro Edition VM (not respecting Sun's specs, etc).

I see the problem as coming from the fact that it's always "latest of the latest tech" and software that should be considered "beta" that is being released. Recent technology, buggy drivers, etc. And the problem is by the time the bugs are ironed out, there's a "new latest of the latest" and so you hardly ever see "version 1.1" of the phone, for you're starting again with a more recent phone, subject to new bugs etc.

What about cell phones / tablet PCs running Linux? Is there any hope that these aren't rushed so hard to the market or that, at least, by using Linux you gain some stability?

I'm sure lots of people want to reply with anecdotical "my XYZ cellphone works perfectly and its browser never crashes" but having worked on porting applications to hundreds of cellphones I can tell you that many cellphone developers know what I'm talking about when I say that it's "cutting edge buggy tech".

Portable pen-test platform (2, Insightful)

beefpants (985575) | about 7 years ago | (#18783419)

I bought an n800 the day after they came out, and I have been extremely happy with it. The review recommends using it "only as a digital newspaper"?! I'm sorry, but the reviewer wasn't being very creative.

I find the n800 most useful as a portable penetration-testing platform. The reviewer missed the point that the n800 really is a linux box, so it will run whatever you throw at it - kismet, nmap, metasploit, dsniff, aircrack - you name it. It's small enough to hide just about anywhere, and it looks so much like a phone that you can use it in public without drawing much attention to yourself.

I highly recommend pairing the n800 with the Stowaway bluetooth keyboard from ThinkOutside. This, when combined with the n800's XTerm program - gives you a complete, networked, graphical linux workstation that fits within the confines of your cargo pants (settle down!). The keyboard expands to full-size, so you can type quite naturally, and it folds down in seconds in the event you need to make a quick-getaway.

Did I mention that the n800 can also run mame and mplayer and that you can fit two 4GBs of flash cards into it? Oh, and that it takes regular cell-phone batteries, so you can carry around as much portable power as you need, for a long job or a long flight?

Oh, and also that the bluetooth chip has an FM radio reciever built-in?

Ever since the Toshiba Libretto, I've been waiting for a pocket-sized, touch-screen, wi-fi-enabled xterm/attack platform. The n800 is the best I've seen yet. Still, I'd recommend only using it for all the things you do with other kickass, portable linux devices. The n800 is not yet ready to replace your Aibo.

Re:Portable pen-test platform (1)

soleblaze (628864) | about 7 years ago | (#18783577)

You got aircrack working on it? Is there a repository with that in it or did you compile it yourself?

Reason for my Purchase of the N800 (1)

harknell (1090023) | about 7 years ago | (#18783433)

The reason I bought the N800 was the fact that the price ($399) made it the least expensive mobile web platform that uses an actual desktop version of a web browser (opera 8.2). No other mobile device or PDA has a web browser that really works as well, even Opera Mini. I use the N800 to do mobile web administration of my forum and other websites, and it has worked perfectly every time. A UMPC costs about 3 times as much as this. It would be nice if it had a phone built in, or even simply an EVDO aircard connection, but with my cellphone and bluetooth it works well enough. I don't have a bluetooth keyboard for it yet, which would make life even easier. For what it does, it's perfect for this type of usage.

My mini-review (4, Informative)

Werrismys (764601) | about 7 years ago | (#18783469)

After a month of use: The 770 has better form factor and looks better, but the N800 has: - much better power savings thanks to the new OS - practically never crashes. I have had zero crashes after installing the updated OS. Installing was a breeze, it even located my backup and restored settings from old OS. - has MUCH improved packet management - works flawlessly with a Nokia bluetooth keyboard - has enough CPU power to watch those 350M TV series episodes (it's not 30fps but it's smooth enough using mplayer) - Opera never crashes, loads very fast, and renders very fast - It's "always online" thanks to very sane hassle-free WLAN configuration system and good power saving modes Its' a great platform for Lucasarts games, remote configuration (X Terminal, SSH). And with the LCARS Trek-theme the OS is very very futuristic. Some software ports like X-Chat (for IRC) and X-Terminal are excellent. 770 was a nice prototype (I used it for a year). N800 is a solid product. With 2 x 4G SD cards it can easily carry a weekend's worth of videos of music. Looking forward to the Navicore navigation set (released last week).

Forgot to mention: excellent PDF viewer (1)

Werrismys (764601) | about 7 years ago | (#18783531)

The PDF viewer is good. I have read 400-page PDF's full of images on this thing, as well as warezed scanned Tintin/Asterix/Whatnot cartoons. For proper e-book formats fbreader rules, you can rotate the text 90 degrees and keep the tablet in one hand and scroll pages using zoom buttons.

No 3G? (-1, Troll)

unix_core (943019) | about 7 years ago | (#18783751)

Uhm, what? No 3G? Not even gprs/gsm? Wow... that certainly renders this device a worthless piece of fucking crap.

Re:No 3G? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18785209)

A**WIPE it is NOT a phone! Look in the mirror and direct your last "sentence" to yourself.

Re:No 3G? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18786435)

Indeed. The grandparent demonstrates a certain amount of immaturity by assuming that a cool device which doesn't have what he considers to be a crucial feature is therefore of no value.

Heaven forbid that someone should jump in straight away to flame him with an equally insightful comment about how the device is not a phone, while failing to notice that one might want to use the internet where there is 3G coverage but no wifi. And imagine the hilarity if they topped this off by demonstrating their own immaturity with puerile insults!

Re:No 3G? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18785599)

What he meant to say is:

"Having carefully evaluated this device and its capabilities, I have ascertained that it does not fit my needs for mobile computation. I find that connectivity to a mobile carrier is vital, and clearly any reasonable person would agree with me and therefore I can immediately declare that the device in question is of no value to anyone and has no merit whatsoever."

Bravo, sir. I was about to buy one, but having spent the time considering your insightful comments and arguments I realised that this device is, in fact, not a glorified mobile phone.

Re:No 3G? (1)

gomiam (587421) | about 7 years ago | (#18785889)

Little unknown detail: this not a phone even if it's a Nokia product. You can always use a Bluetooth mobile to keep the 3G/GPRS/GSM connection going. You can also keep waiting for a mobile that does everything you can do with the N800. It's your choice.

I have one and love it... (2, Interesting)

Grinin (1050028) | about 7 years ago | (#18783899)

A local CompUSA was going out of business so they gave me 40% off on the N800. I just had to buy it. As a result, I've been installing open-source applications for it, and they are amazing. One of the selling points of the device was the bluetooth integration with a GPS unit. The device runs an application called "Maemo" for the desktop, and its built on Debian. I downloaded "MaemoMapper" which has GPS, Routes, and Maps, and once you get the "Flite" library installed, it reads you directions. All for far less than a standalone GPS. Throw in all the other features, and it was too good to pass up. The developer base is growing extensively, and more and more projects are opening up. I already have NMap on the device which is great since you don't need to carry around a laptop to do some testing.

Re:I have one and love it... (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 7 years ago | (#18784833)

I was in CompUSA and saw they were selling them for $349, with 20% off, during the great purge. I already had one, but at that price I had to get one for my brother.

I purchased a Samsung Q1 last November and truthfully, it's no where nearly as useful as the N800, and costs 3x as much.

Fire buttons (1)

Kludge (13653) | about 7 years ago | (#18785291)

I would love to buy one, but there are no fire or jump buttons on the right side. How can I justify the purchase?

Video and Audio Quality (2, Insightful)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about 7 years ago | (#18785329)

From TFA:"the streaming performance was sub par at best. The movies were pixilated, and the audio was unsync'ed with the clips. YouTube videos are known for their notorious video quality, and the N800 doesn't have the power to remedy those issues like a PC would to tolerable levels."

What exactly does that mean? Does the author think your PC has some magic CSI-like software that "enhances" You Tube videos? Or does the Nokia use some crappy codec that can't handle video at 320 x 240? Or did he just have a crappy network connection that couldn't handle the stream?

This is the one that really gets me: "The lack of bass and clearly defined bits weren't presentable through the integrated speakers. Interestingly enough, the audio quality improved vastly through third-party earphones."

In other words, music sounds better through a decent set of headphones than over the tiny speakers crammed into an ultraportable device. The fact that this finds this interesting--as opposed to blatantly obvious-- makes his credentials suspect. And I guess I don't have a very good ear, but I can hardly ever hear the "clearly defined bits" in my digital music.

A better alternative (1)

regular_gonzalez (926606) | about 7 years ago | (#18786267)

I see no compelling reason to get this over a Dell Axim X51v (or if you're on the cheap, an X50v off ebay).
-High res screen? Check. Resolution is only slightly less -- 800x480 (iirc) vs 640x480, which still kicks the crap out of any phone on the market.
-Wireless? Check.
-Bluetooth? Check.
-*Far* faster processer, making things like watching xvid-encoded movies off of either a CF or SD card a breeze using such freeware as TCPMP [corecodec.org]. Use DVD Decryptor and Auto GordianKnot and entire DVDs can be compressed to 800-900 megs with amazing quality, making it easy to keep yourself entertained on flights or train commutes.
-No comparison for software -- the Axims run Windows Mobile, which has hundreds of free and commercial games and various apps available.
-True PDA functionality
-GPS add-ons if you're into that
-Syncs with Outlook
-CHEAP. I picked up an x50v with loads and loads of extras (aluminum case, long life battery, travel charger, car charger, car mount, 2 GB CF card, etc) off of ebay for $250. Heck, there's even an add-on to get ota TV stations.

Waiting for bluetooth storage... (2, Interesting)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | about 7 years ago | (#18787275)

I have a 770, and I can't wait for some sort of bluetooth storage like Seagate's D.A.V.E. or that Bluonyx thing by Agere. Then I can store more movies and music on it than I can with the small 2gb flash card that my 770 has.

Its an excellent device to take on planes. You don't have to worry about getting out the laptop, putting it on the tray, the guy in the seat in front of you in full recline and taking that much more of your personal space, longer battery life, etc.
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