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Nokia Takes Third Swing at Internet Tablet

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the it-dices-it-slices-look-at-that-tomato dept.

Portables 275

DeviceGuru writes "It looks like Nokia is intent on scoring success with a Linux-powered Internet tablet. The company has unveiled the N810, its third attempt at hitting a home run with the concept. The new model adds a slide-out hardware keyboard, and also a built-in GPS receiver and FM transmitter (for in-car listening), among a number of other enhancements (such as a faster CPU and more memory). At this point, the device is positioned as an email and browsing tool, a social networking aid, a GPS, a VoIP phone, and a multimedia player (and streamer, thanks to built-in WiFi). Will this prove any more successful than the two previous iterations of this offering?"

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275 comments

Simple Question (4, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029055)

Demands a simple answer ....

"Will this prove any more successful than the two previous iterations of this offering?"

No.

At this point we need one of those forms that has all the check boxes as to why it will fail, like the one for SPAM.

Re:Simple Question (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029169)

Okay only 256m of Flash?????
If it came with 16 Gb then it would be a worthy IPod Touch rival. I would love one but at $500 I will probably give it a miss.

Re:Simple Question (2, Informative)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029335)

Unless it's radically changed from the N800, it has slots for 2 more SD cards. 256MB is pretty much the minimum to run the system, but you'll slap a 1GB+ card in it as soon as you buy it, and configure the onboard to be swap instead.

Re:Simple Question (3, Informative)

fr4nk (1077037) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029757)

Unfortunately, they changed the two SDHC-Slots to a single miniSD slot. It has 2GB of internal flash, though.

Re:Simple Question (1)

elgaard (81259) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029357)

But up to 8GByte flash in *SD slots.
I think it is fine that the flash can be replaced and upgraded.

But I hope the WiFi is good. I have a N770 and the WiFi is just horrible bad.
It cannot "see" access-points just fine, but it cannot connect unless you stand right next to them.
I does not work with networks that I can use just fine with my laptop or WiFi SIP phone.

--
Niels

Re:Simple Question (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029677)

The N800 has pretty good network capability. I've not used the N770, but I'm quite happy with the performance of the N800. I can't imagine the N810 being worse than the N800.

Re:Simple Question (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030183)

Networking on the 770 is quite fast, at least when I'm using it with my Linksys WAP.

Re:Simple Question (3, Informative)

DingerX (847589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029651)

That's 256MB of "Application Memory". The N810 comes with 2MB of storage flash onboard, and a miniSD slot. (The N800 had no onboard flash -- no GPS = no Maps to preload, and two full SD slots) That means that you can put up to 256 MB of (mostly aptget repositoried) programs on there; anything more requires a little modification (you know, it's an open Linux device, so you can run the OS off the MMC, it just takes some doing).

iPhone/iPod Touch have similar application memory quantities.

Re:Simple Question (1, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029991)

But you could use the "Application Memory" as mass storage.
Yes the miniSD slot is nice but it isn't gigabytes of mass storage. If the N810 was a great media player that could also surf the web, watch YouTube, and run other programs then I think it could be a good product for Nokia. Right now it takes too much fiddling to make it work really well. People don't want to fiddle with a product. They want it to just work.

Re:Simple Question (0)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030383)

I want to fiddle with it.

Re:Simple Question (1)

The_Angry_Canadian (1156097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029261)

I dont see why it would be more popular than the last iterations. Looks a little bit bigger than the Iphone, does almost the same thing BUT you cant use the thing to make a phone call unless you use the VoIP and will that be availble if you dont have a WiFi hotspot around ?!

Re:Simple Question (4, Interesting)

drb_chimaera (879110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030143)

I dunno, the last couple of iterations seem to have been pretty popular...

Personally a big part of the appeal of the device is that it *isn't* a cellphone - PDA type phones are too big to use comfortably as a phone as my old HTC Universal can attest (and I'm not exactly a small guy either)...

Instead its a nice open platform thats small enough to sling in my bag or a jacket pocket and I can pair it up with any phone I like for mobile internet connectivity away from a Wireless AP. Unlike the iPhone I can install the apps I want on a screen wide enough to view most web pages comfortably without needing to horizontally scroll.

Admittedly I'm biased, I was just about to buy an N800 when the rumors of this one broke so am holding out til the N810 is in the wild before I make a decision which one to go for...

Re:Simple Question (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21029435)

At this point we need one of those forms that has all the check boxes as to why it will fail, like the one for SPAM.
We already have one, but it's not very comprehensive yet:

-----

[ ] No wireless
[X] Less space than a Nomad
[X] Lame

-----

Re:Simple Question (4, Insightful)

BigGerman (541312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029745)

Define: successful. N800 is regularly on the top of Amazon bestseller list higher than Mac laptops.

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21029081)

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Your comment has too few characters per line

Re:SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Offtopic)

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Knock Knock. Who's there? 2002 (-1, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029095)

Nothing against devices with internet access, but this thing's got nothing going for it.

It's not a phone. It's barely a GPS device. It runs LINUX, for chrissakes.

Get an iPhone, people. As much as I mock people who slavishly participate in mind-numbed Apple worship, if you want something to surf the web and not look like a clown, get an iPhone.

Re:Knock Knock. Who's there? 2002 (5, Insightful)

pherthyl (445706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029239)

if you want something to surf the web and not look like a clown, get an iPhone.

The iPhone has a 320×480 resolution screen. The 810 has 800x480. Anything less than 800 wide is not enough resolution to surf normal pages comfortably, so the iPhone is not even a contender.

And I like that it's not a phone, it means you're not locked into anything.

Re:Knock Knock. Who's there? 2002 (1)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029587)

I'd mod you up if I could. An N810 is a safe bet since it will work with the rest of your gear 5 years from now.

Re:Knock Knock. Who's there? 2002 (1)

mrslacker (1122161) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029599)

True enough, but I'm still waiting for the second version of the OpenMoko Neo 1973 - 480x640 with wireless.

> And I like that it's not a phone, it means you're not locked into anything.

For the Neo I like that it's _also_ a phone _and_ I'm not locked into anything.

Re:Knock Knock. Who's there? 2002 (5, Funny)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029829)

if you want something to surf the web and not look like a clown, get an iPhone.
Yeah, you won't look like a clown, you'll look like a douche bag.

Re:Knock Knock. Who's there? 2002 (0, Offtopic)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029979)

The iPhone has a 320×480 resolution screen. The 810 has 800x480. Anything less than 800 wide is not enough resolution to surf normal pages comfortably, so the iPhone is not even a contender.

Which is why the iPhone pretends to be a 960px-wide screen and shrinks content, which you can then zoom in on and pan around. It's not an ideal solution--and one that would have never been needed if people would have designed web pages like they were meant to be designed, instead of leading us to the current situation where "Anything less than 800 wide is not enough resolution to surf normal pages comfortably"--but it works pretty well.

And I like that it's not a phone, it means you're not locked into anything.

Which is why God^H^H^HSteve Jobs introduced the iPod touch. Which, by the way, is $200 less than this Nokia.

I'm not saying the iPod touch is better in every way than this Nokia. But it is in fact a quite decent web tablet, and if you don't need the features (removable storage, camera) of this Nokia, it's definitely worth looking at.

Re:Knock Knock. Who's there? 2002 (1)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029251)

there are plenty of other phones that surf the web and aren't the iPhone. Verizon Wireless's XV6700 or AT&T's 8525 (i think they're both pretty much the same phone) do a pretty good job and offer WiFi. They use Windows Mobile, so its Pocket IE, but its still good nonetheless.

Re:Knock Knock. Who's there? 2002 (4, Insightful)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029283)

I don't see it taking over the mainstream market, but I have an N800 and it's a surprisingly capable device. For me, having a portable Rhapsody client that works over wifi and bluetooth was nearly worth the price tag on its own--it's like having an iPod with a few million tracks preloaded on it.

Beyond that, though, there's a healthy open source community and a steady stream of apps. While the overlal interface is indisputably worse than the iPhone's (what isn't?), the form factor is much better for web browsing and other high-resolution widescreen activities. Mine is largely a portable O'Reilly Safari reader at work.

The market for this is the bleeding edge techies that will appreciate the flexibility of a Debian-based system with aptget as the installer. It's not your mom, so yeah, it won't be successful in that sense. As a flagship device for Nokia, though, it's pretty kick-ass.

Re:Knock Knock. Who's there? 2002 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21029293)

It's Nokia. Enough for many people to prefer it over a hyped iPhone which has yet to proove it's quality and durability.

Re:Knock Knock. Who's there? 2002 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21029627)

Get an iPhone, people. As much as I mock people who slavishly participate in mind-numbed Apple worship...

Unlike yourself, of course. Rather than debate this myself, head on over to http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21206757/ [msn.com]

From this article:
So here we are, three months later, and this remarkably inventive device that's so lacking as an actual phone but so promising as the be-all/end-all gadget is no better than at launch, and even less hopeful because of Apple's action against iPhone customizations that enable it to do more than just what Apple says it can and should do.

It runs LINUX, for chrissakes.

Well, yeah, it does! That just about guarantees that Nokia cannot play the same games that Apple is playing with the iPhone and that the capabilities of the Nokia N8XX will only get better with time.

If you want something to surf the web and not look like a clown, don't get an iPhone!

Re:Knock Knock. Who's there? 2002 (5, Informative)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029769)

Get an iPhone, people.

An iPhone to me is as good as a paperweight, as I am not an American nor does AT&T offer its service to Canadians. In order for it to even function at all I would need to subscribe to Rogers wireless (the only service in the country with an iPhone-compatible network) then hack the iPhone to get *most* of the functionality--the kind of thing Apple likes to litigate over.

I already HAVE a phone and don't WANT another phone. I don't need a fancy GPS and don't want one. I don't really care if someone thinks I "look like a clown" if I can actually visit web pages and SEE them properly (not on some tiny low-res screen). It isn't supposed to replace a phone and a phone will never replace what it does.

And you also seem to mention that it runs Linux as if that is a bad thing. Who cares if it is Linux? My girlfriend's cellphone is Linux powered and she doesn't even care and didn't even know it was until I told her. what matters more is how it acutally functions, and the iPhone seems to be much more about form than function (it has not buttons with tactile feedback, is locked into one carrier's system, severely restricts third-party apps, is over-priced...not much that seems appealing to me).

There is no way this device will sell as big as a popular cellphone because it isn't filling that need. There is a substantial-enough market, however, for a device equipped with a REAL browser and readable display and a vendor that isn't a control freak. Users from warehouse order selectors and couriers to gadget-crazy hobbyists and hackers could appreciate this thing.

Re:Knock Knock. Who's there? 2002 (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030289)

I couldn't agree with your post more. On top of all that, I can make very cheap calls with skype out when I visit the parents. And I don't have to pay expensive data rates just to browse.

How much battery life does it have? (2, Insightful)

hypermanng (155858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029113)

And how many people out there in the corporate mainstream are ready to rely on VoIP and whatever wifi might be available? If folks were ready to restructure their communication expectations, it'd be a fine device, but I suspect they're still a little ahead of things.

OLPC and EEE (4, Insightful)

batray (257663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029149)

I see the )ASUS EEE (http://eeepc.asus.com/en/ [asus.com] and the OLPC (http://laptop.org/ [laptop.org] ) as it's competition. Both are bigger, but also far more capable and less expensive.

Re:OLPC and EEE (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029465)

I've been watching the Asus eee closely and you are right - but unfortunately the gap in price isn't nearly as large as I'd hoped. I'd lug around the larger eee pc to save a few hundred dollars - but to save $100? I'm not sure. Maybe if demand slows down on the eee - the price will come down too.

It's the price (4, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029157)

The specs on that are pretty good. The form-factor is nice. The software sounds like it is very decent, also. But $500?

I was at Wal-Mart yesterday, and they had Windows Vista notebooks for $300.

It's the same problem that ALL PDAs have. To make a PDA that has all the functionality you want, they basically have to re-create notebook, but make everything a little slower/suckier to make the device smaller and make the batteries last longer.

It's hard to justify buying any of these devices, as neat as they are. They're just not worth it.

Re:It's the price (1)

psavo (162634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029457)

vista laptop costing $500 has weight of at least 3.5kg. Apples and watermelons..

Re:It's the price (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030159)

Wrong comparison - both apples and watermelons are edible.

Comparing the N800 or the EE to a 300£ Vista laptop is like comparing an apple to a one of those pumpkins used for making traditional Mexican flasks. It may look edible, but it ain't. And it weights a ton.

This is not a laptop. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21029709)

That Vista notebook you speak of...
Is it 5 inches wide, 2 inches high and half an inch thick?
Does it weigh 8 ounces?
Does it have a touch screen and a flip out querty keyboard?
Does it have a built in GPS?

Re:It's the price (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21030053)

It's the same problem that ALL PDAs have. To make a PDA that has all the functionality you want, they basically have to re-create notebook, but make everything a little slower/suckier to make the device smaller and make the batteries last longer.
Notebooks have the same problem!

After all, what is a notebook computer? Why, it's just a re-creation of a desktop computer, but slower and suckier. Who would ever buy such a thing?

I confidently predict that notebooks will be phased out in the next three years, due to sheer lack of demand for them.

Re:It's the price (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030085)

I was at Wal-Mart yesterday, and they had Windows Vista notebooks for $300.

Then I still have to pay $125 for the EDGE wireless card to throw into the laptop to use it when there is no wifi. To me, EDGE/GPRS capabilities are the most important. That way I can do what I need to wherever I am. YMMV.

Best Spin Ever (3, Insightful)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029163)

"The N810 is slightly smaller than its predecessor, the N800, and slightly heavier, leading users to 'perceive more value' in the device, predicts Olavi Toivainen, Nokia's director of product management."

-That's- what's wrong with tech today. Our irresponsible focus on miniaturization has removed all the -value-.

Re:Best Spin Ever (5, Informative)

dougr650 (1115217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029633)

Unfortunately, that's not just spin you're noticing there, it's a pervasive marketing gimmick in the consumer electronics world. It's a widely-held belief (regretfully based on factual sales data) that "perceived value" increases with the weight and size of virtually any piece of consumer technology. If it's tiny and light, most people think they're paying too much for it, never mind that you can get more use out of things that are tiny and light and it's much more costly to produce such items. If you open up just about any DVD player or other device from certain companies that subscribe to this belief (hello Philips, I'm talking to you!), you'll often find a thick, heavy metal plate that serves no function other than to add mass, which magically transforms into a psychological notion of value and supports a wider profit margin.

Re:Best Spin Ever (1)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029975)

I've heard this in terms of stuff that lives on shelves and desks. It's just the first time I've heard someone try to apply the trope to mobile stuff, where lighter is generally acknowledged as preferable.

Re:Best Spin Ever (2, Insightful)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029969)

If the volume went down and the weight went up, I would expect it to have better battery life, which is in fact added value. And it is still under 8 ounces, so it isn't a brick.

GAH! (1)

Jethro (14165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029179)

Of course, cause I just got the N800...

Re:GAH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21029629)

Bought an N800 just a week ago... Even had to get a separate GPS receiver and this version has one integrated. If only I had waited a while!!

Re:GAH! (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029665)

Same here... but I can't be too disappointed since I got it for 350 something. I usually aim to stay one or two iterations back from the latest and greatest. I am (mostly) happy with the performance of my N800.

Re:GAH! (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029767)

Don't feel bad, the N800 is a fine device, and at $258 on Amazon [amazon.com] , it's a steal!

Re:GAH! (1)

Sunspire (784352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030141)

Fortunately the new IT2008 OS that ships with the N810 will also be made available as a free download to all N800 users. As the N800 is only around $220 it's still a great buy today.

Why is this an important niche? (2, Interesting)

mean pun (717227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029205)

Personally, I don't see the attraction of this kind of device. The core functionality seems to be webbrowsing while you're traveling. That may be nice, but is it really so important that you make a dedicated device for it? Aparently Nokia seems to think so (and Apple too, in a way), but I just don't see it. Can anyone lusting for this device tell me what the attraction is? Also, how do these things compare to the devices on the Japanese market? During my recent trip to Japan I saw a similar device on display all over Japan. Sorry, I don't know a brand name, but clearly vendors also want to fill this niche in the Japanese market.

Re:Why is this an important niche? (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029381)

They market it as an "internet tablet", but it runs Linux. There is a community behind these devices (maemo.org), where hundreds of apps can be downloaded.

Now that it has a keyboard, you can do a lot with it that you couldn't do with the older versions.

Will this version be the one that brings this product line out of obscurity? Probably not, but it is a step in the right direction, and it won't be the last.

Re:Why is this an important niche? (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030271)

Now that it has a keyboard, you can do a lot with it that you couldn't do with the older versions.

I dunno... I can still use Midnight Commander and Links in an xterm on my 770. Just gotta use the stylus keypad is all. And doom works fine (if a bit differently) with the stylus, too. :-)

Re:Why is this an important niche? (5, Informative)

DingerX (847589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029527)

I have an n800, and I'll speak to its attractions:

It's not about web browsing while traveling. Sure, it does come in handy there (or any number of places around the house).
It's not about a lot of things.

At home, I have more Core 2 Duo with two big LCD screens and all kinds of fun and power. At work, I have a desktop computer that gets the job done. But these are all computers where you have to be seated, paying attention to the device. Even laptops are that way: they're designed for you to be sitting in front of them, looking at the screen.

There's plenty of things I do that involve using a computer, but in a secondary way:
VoIP is one. If I can hook up a headset and drop the unit in my pocket (something the 810 will be better at), that's far better than sitting in front of the computer to take calls, and it's cheaper than a cellphone.
Another is when I'm working with other people on a project. It's useful to have the internet, and a host of stored documents, on hand. If I want to show someone something, I hand them the tablet.
Or yeah, checking slashdot from bed helps.
GPS and the internet in a portable package means I can download Google Maps and Google Satellite tiles, and, when I'm out hiking, call up a satellite photograph of the area, which provides far more information than a standard GPS navigation unit.
For me, the 800 and a keyboard is a good laptop replacement. When I'm traveling, most of my tasks don't require more of a computer now than what I had ten years ago. My last laptop weighed over 10 pounds (with power brick), so every time I go on the road, I am a happy man.

And the 810 supports a bunch of video formats on that 800x480 screen, so I'm sure it's a great porn device as well.

Re:Why is this an important niche? (1)

Paul_Hindt (1129979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030191)

If I can hook up a headset and drop the unit in my pocket
Dude, I don't want to know about the unit in your pocket.

Re:Why is this an important niche? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029531)

If I'm traveling with my laptop - I spend most of my time on the internet. With google's offerings (and others) I can even do 'office' type stuff with nothing more. My email is on the web, my social communities are on the web, many of my favorite apps are on the web, my entertainment is on the web. For a lot of people - that's all they need. They don't need any fat client, desktop software - just a decent sized screen to view online content.

Re:Why is this an important niche? (2, Insightful)

curmudgeous (710771) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030055)

I read the specs and found this quite impressive. True, it will never replace the laptop or cell phone, but per the article:

...The N810 is the first of Nokia's Internet tablets to integrate a GPS receiver...The N810 will come with free maps specific to the country of purchase, according to Toivainen. Optional voice-controlled navigation will be available as a $120/3-year third-party add-on from WayFinder, which will offer a free 7-day trial in the U.S.

Add in the 802.11b/g, the multimedia playback and the 800 x 480 screen and I see this as being quite useful to your average road warrior. I've seen many Garmin and Magellan GPS products that don't do a fraction of what is claimed for this device for the quoted price and above. Assuming the built in antenna is suitably sensitive, I think they've hit a good price point.

Re:Why is this an important niche? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21030137)

Every year, I'm travelling for months at a time. Up to now, I've always brought along a large/heavy laptop; I just can't live without net access, and there's no way I trust internet cafes with the some of the things I do, so that means having to bring my own hardware.

I've been eyeing the iPod touch since it came out; Safari is a pretty good browser which could do a lot of me. But lack of SSH/IRC, plus the whole walled garden environment, plus its "entertainment device" angle means it's not quite that suitable. This N810 on the other hand seems downright perfect.

The one thing I'm left wondering about is what it does for email. Anyone know? (What program? Does it support basic things like POP over SSL and configurability for leaving specific email on the server or not? Got a halfway decent implementation of bayesian spam filtering? ...?)

Last computer you'll ever need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21030165)

Come on, I coud imagine using it for more than casual websurfing, among things it has a built-in GPS receiver, audio (movies?) player, phone, ... Also it beats the iPhone because it's not locked to an operator and it's Linux, so you can probably run anything you'd want on it. It's pure geek porn.

The role of my Nokia Internet Tablet (2, Interesting)

benmhall (9092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030363)

I have a 770 and am waiting impatiently for a new N800 to ship. ($275CDN vs $500 and another month, I'll wait on the N810.)

I have three machines at home: A PC that I almost never use, a dual-boot MacBook and a server for media (and, as it turns out, UPnP music streaming.)

The 770, which is a dated, slow version of the N800 which is now a dated, slower version of the N810 constantly amazes me. I'm not using it as I had intended, but I'm using it a lot.

For starters, because I already had a UPnP server running, I get full access to all of my music on a half pound device. I don't have to sync to it, I can access this from anywhere in the house. For me, this has been very convenient and has cut in on MP3 player usage.

It's also very capable as a browser, and I find myself rarely bothering to go to the basement to grab my 5.5lb laptop. Why bother when all I need to do is look up the weather?

It can also be made to be a decent little PDA. With GPE, I can sync with Evolution and keep my calendar and address book in sync. With this, it has finally killed off my use of a Palm.

Paired with a Bluetooth keyboard, it's a full little computer. With RDesktop, VNC, SSH and an XTerm, I have used it to patch servers at work, write documents etc. This isn't like using a PDA, this is like using a small computer. In fact, being a little Linux box, it's a lot of fun to tinker with this thing. (If that's your cup of tea. it is mine.)

Yes, all of the above could be done with a laptop, which maybe even cheaper, but it wasn't necessary and wasn't as convenient for me.

Now, for $500ish, you might have a hard time justifying the purchase, but I paid $150 for the 770 and the N800 is selling for as little as $220. That's cheap for what is a fully-functional (for me) little Linux box.

Oh, and for me, one of the best parts is that it's _NOT_ a phone. No monthly plans, no extra fees. In fact, the only thing that bugs me about the N810 is the built-in GPS that I don't want (but could be handy when traveling)

Right now, you're correct. The core functionality is browsing. However, the thriving Maemo community is doing all sorts of weird and wonderfully unexpected things with these little machines. It's still not 100% essential for me, and if I needed one machine to do it all, I'd still grab the MacBook, but more and more I reach for the 770 instead.

Re:Why is this an important niche? (1)

danielsz (985326) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030387)

The reason I bought the Nokia N800 is because it's the only programmable open source portable device I know of. As a writer, the most important use for me is, well, writing. I use emacs v. 22 in a Xterminal with all my usual keybindings. I pair it with a bluetooth keyboard and I write in cafés and all kinds of places. I installed scratchbox and the maemo SDK for educational purposes (maemo is debian based, like ubuntu on my desktop), and also because I want to cross-compile aspell (since I haven't found a package ready for download). The Nokia N800 replaced a Palm T3 which I used for the same purposes (with many more grievances).

number keys (1)

foodnugget (663749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029217)

Am i the only person who thinks dedicated number keys (like on the sidekick, a well thought out but poorly marketed product) are REALLY REALLY nice? I have the newest wince device du jour, and the shared number/qwerty is very... very annoying.

I really like separate number buttons. On a computer, where one uses numbers frequently... especially a phone-type device which involves dates.... hitting the fn button all the time is silly!
Bonus points for the sidekick designers, who even had a separate key for the @ symbol.

Re:number keys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21029937)

Am i the only person who thinks a Dvorak keyboard is REALLY REALLY nice?

Sholes is so 1867.

no thanks, I'll take an eee..... (2, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029227)

If I wanted to browse the Internet in a mobile fashion I would be much more interested in a Asus Eee PC format that could browse cellular networks, anybody know if it can? They must be thinking of adding something other then wireless...

more power, more traditional format, proper keyboard/mouse, ok its bigger but its much smaller then a real laptop - and you can work on office documents and actually do something approaching tasks on it. now thats a toy I'm really thinking of getting....

http://www.itweek.co.uk/personal-computer-world/news/2192000/199-asus-ultra-mobile-uk-soon [itweek.co.uk]

Re:keyboard (1)

diegocn (1109503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029601)

I thought that's what USB port on the phone is for. On the side note it's good to hear that they have standby mode sorted out with linux kernel. It has been a major problem for the openMoko porject [openmoko.org] .

Re:no thanks, I'll take an eee..... (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029773)

well you thought too long. they are all on back order already i believe. and that original price of $200 that was rumored has turned out to be $300 or $400 - depending on memory. so i think this is much more competitive with the eee than i would have thought when word of the eee first came out.

Nice (4, Interesting)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029235)

I have a 770 [wikipedia.org] , and am very happy with it. But the lack of a keyboard seriously limits its uses.

This new device looks like a larger version of my cell phone, the Nokia 9300 [wikipedia.org] . The problem with the 9300 is that it doesn't run Linux. The N810 does.

There are a lot of people who want an affordably-priced UMPC. I think Nokia is going in the right direction with this. Eventually, they will market it (or the a later version) as a UMPC, but they are adding features incrementally, and not pretending that it is anything special... yet.

What about neo1973 now? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21029911)

given the fact that price will not be much different, that this nokia has more tech.details that are better than the neo1973...
what will happen to the neo1973 (openmoko) now???

Missing 3G connectivity (1)

sandeepdath (213191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029237)

I think the biggest negative that remains with the 810 is the fact that it only supports WI-FI connectivity. If it does eventually come to support 3G connectivity, imagine the possibilities:

A pocket Linux system that is quite affordable (unlike the OQO or other UMPCs) and can connect to the Internet on the go.

Re:Missing 3G connectivity (1)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029387)

It has Bluetooth. I have an N800 and a 3G phone, and have 3G connectivity no problem.

Think of it as a divergence device. The Nxx0 series represents a real and workable attempt to decouple the modem from the computer, and have separate componentry living in a Bluetooth cloud. Personally, I like the idea of having a very small phone and a very capable portable rather than a larger, less capable computerized phone.

Re:Missing 3G connectivity (1)

Klaruz (734) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029697)

Exactly. I have a sprint ppc-6700 (htc apache, verizon xv6700, etc). It's a brick, and it's a poor phone and a poor web browser/pda. If i could get something like this I'd just get whatever thin non-pocket busting cheap phone I can from sprint and teather it with the nokia most of the time and teather with my laptop when I need something more. Not to mention the nokia has gps, which would be really handy since I don't own one of those yet, and I could use it as a phone around the house, etc, etc.

Re:Missing 3G connectivity (1)

sandeepdath (213191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029699)

Yes, but that's hardly what I think the average gadget user wants - that two gadgets be paired to perform a single task.

Besides 3G components are becoming increasingly miniaturized today. Nokia could easily add that without adding much weight or increasing the current dimensions of the N810. Or for that matter, increasing the cost of the device.

Re:Missing 3G connectivity (1)

ThisOrThat (832791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029785)

I don't need or what 3G, I bought my 770 for just using it with Wifi, it's nice it can use bluetooth for those that want it. The device can't have everything and I don't think it should. What if some want net access via EDGE, should they include that also? - Justin

Re:Missing 3G connectivity (1)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029915)

I think the average gadget user isn't completely clear on what they want, to be honest. Sure, they want as much in one package as possible, but that's only really viable once the technology is a commodity. Otherwise, every embedded tech either makes your device expensive, unstable, or incompatible. Also, if the technology is fast-moving, it makes you obsolete more quickly since any one embedded tech can obsolete the whole device.

The problem with putting 3G in the device is that it'll tie you to the network, because we haven't genericized cellular access in the US. Once it does become a generic commodity, I agree, it should just be part of the convergence. You can see that path with peripherals all through personal computer history--once there's no real variation in the market or technology, they move into the main box instead of being separate.

Re:Missing 3G connectivity (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029713)

Yeah, but the precise reason I got an N800 is because I don't want to pay through the ass for the data rates of 3G (or an iPhone). Yes 3G is nice, but quite honestly I don't need internet access every waking minute of my life, wherever I am. I am quite happy to have access when there is a wifi spot close by.

Re:Missing 3G connectivity (1)

MacAnkka (1172589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029899)

All you need is a cheap 3G phone with bluetooth and you can browse the internet via 3G with the N800/N810. These things aren't supposed to replace your phone, they're made to work with your phone.

why is it SMALLER??? (3, Insightful)

Victor Tramp (5336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029403)

Why can't they (or anyone) make it steno pad sized??? What the hell is wrong with people that every devices has to be f'ing Zoolander sized??

full size tablet notebooks fail because they are too large. PDA "tablets" fail because they're too small..

This N810 device has REALLY NICE specs considering.. It's a handy tool for folks like me who already have 3 notebooks, like to have [access to] one wherever I go, but it's not practical to take a notebook everywhere [without looking like a tool]. The N800 has always been attractive, because of it's swissarmyknife like features, but it was impractical to me without a keyboard and some size [ssh anyone?].. now the N810 is coming, and it's got a KEYBOARD, and even BETTER features, but it's !@$#%@#$% SMALLER!??!?!?!

I hate you Nokia; you've invented a wonderful, very attractvive information tool that does nearly everything I could think to ask for in a tablet (except maybe some nice USB master ports) and you've wrapped it complete fail!

Re:why is it SMALLER??? (1)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029461)

ssh displays fine on it at a reasonable font size. As far as the keyboard, various bluetooth keyboard solutions work well with it. I have a Stowaway for mine.

Of course, the N800 + the Stowaway is $500, which isn't a particularly good deal in the face of this coming out. I assume the N800 will drop to the $250ish that the N770 did, though.

Re:why is it SMALLER??? (1)

mrslacker (1122161) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029679)

> I assume the N800 will drop to the $250ish...

Already has: http://www.buy.com/prod/nokia-n800-internet-tablet/q/loc/101/204055141.html [buy.com]

> ...that the N770 did, though.

I think you missed a trick; try $150 or so:

http://www.google.com/products?q=nokia+770&btnG=Search+Products&hl=en [google.com]

I've seen it as low as $120.

Re:why is it SMALLER??? (1)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029831)

Heh. Of course it has, re: N800. After all, I just bought mine for $400 five months ago, which was surely the trigger for the price drop. At the time, the N770 was going for around $250, hence my comment.

Re:why is it SMALLER??? (1)

c41rn (880778) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029575)

I have an N800 and I love it. I'm really considering upgrading to the N810 because of the keyboard, but as it is I do a fair amount of stuff over SSH on the N800 just fine (if a little slow typing). The N800 can be paired with a bluetooth keyboard too.

The N810 isn't really all that much smaller. The screen is the exact same size as on the N800. Nokia just made the N810 a little narrower by moving the Dpad to the slide-out keyboard.

Re:why is it SMALLER??? (1)

Victor Tramp (5336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029879)

It's still too small.. The keyboard is a ridiculously attractive addition over the N800, I have friends with the 800, and i think it's a wonderful device.. I think the N810 is a wonderful device too, That's not the point! the point is, it's PHYSICALLY TOO SMALL to use seriously for anything.

I'm used to being the dude with the opinion that nobody takes seriously, but it irks me to no end to see this device, and know even if I did buy it [it's damn compelling], it'll slip out of my hand, slip out of my pocket, not allow me to have two terminals open side by side, or a terminal and a file browser, or web browser, too small to fit a 1.8" drive as WELL as SD slots, too small to be comfortable using the stylus when writing on it.. hell, it's pointless to even consider writing or taking notes on it BECAUSE it's so small..

it's too small to plug in a couple of USB drives, and drag and drop [via konqueror or nautilus or mc, or whatever] between them, it's too small to hold and read for hours, it's too small to have a decent WiFi antenna, too small for a mini-PCI slot, so upgrading from G to N to wiMax would even be possible it's too small for a decent battery, it's too small for huddling folks around to watch youtube or gametrailers. it's too small to finger scroll the screen [instead of HAVING to use a stylus], it's too small to leave the notebook at home and take to class, or take to a meeting for note taking..

in essence, it's too small for doing any of the useful things it would be good for, and that it has been designed for..

but whatever. it's still a nice attempt.

Maybe if they don't keep it a secret (1)

justfred (63412) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029417)

At least people are talking about this one - I never heard about the 770 till it was end-of-life. I might even buy one instead of whatever Apple product might or might not be coming out in November/December/Someday.

( http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=311919&cid=20788059 [slashdot.org] )

I have a 770, and it's great. The screen is beautiful, the OS is acceptable. It plays movies, mp3s, has a fine Linux terminal, tho you don't have to know it's running Linux if you don't want to. Bluetooth keyboard works fine (better with this than with the Palm I bought it for). Got it on Woot for $125. Used it for an art project for Burning Man. I'd have paid $500+ if it was exactly the same but ran embedded OSX instead.

Biggest problem: custom, expensive memory chips (MMC Mobile, which as far as I can tell are only used by Nokia, 2gb max, $50). It doesn't need a hard drive but if it's going to play music I need at least 8GB, movies as much as I can get. Could be a lot faster, too, but I would expect that to be fixed in later versions.

It's N800 plus. Not faster. (5, Insightful)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029453)

It's an N800 plus.

Same CPU, not a faster one, so the post is flawed.
It's N800 + GPS + smaller form factor + slideable backlit QWERTY keyboard + better positioned camera and new version of the debian-based OS.

It's NOT a phone. Phones that big would suck anyway. You use WLAN in cities, in public places, you use your existing phone with GPRS/edge/3G via bluetooth elsewhere. This was one of the wisest decisions Nokia made: I have gone through 3 phones in my 8 months of N800 use.

Compromises are compromises. Phones must be cheap, small, handy, with LONG battery time. Anything with a big screen won't do. Anything with a big form factor won't do. The iPhone is far too large.

I don't have N810 yet, I'll just sum up what the N800 (similar machine) is good for: irc (xterm, irssi, etc), movies (mplayer), remote use (SSH, telnet, VNC, RDP), plain old surfing, car GPS.

On top of that N810 has optimized flash that supposedly runs youtube vids at acceptable speed. OS2007 version failed at this, youtube worked, but too slowly.

iPhone runs on proprietary OS, with a real SDK coming out next year. The Maemo platform is now 2-3 years old, well understood and readily available. N800/N810 even have python bindings for most things :-)

It's N800 plus. AND faster. (1)

Gadzinka (256729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030007)

Same CPU, not a faster one, so the post is flawed.

Not acording to all reports I've read all over the web since yesterday. ArsTechnica says [arstechnica.com] it's the same procesor, only clocked 80MHz faster, at 400MHz. For last couple of years I've learned to trust ArsTechnica over any random slashdotter when it comes to verifying their sources.

Robert

Re:It's N800 plus. AND faster. (1)

fr4nk (1077037) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030069)

The good thing is that the N800 also gets the new IT OS version (2008), which clocks the CPU to 400MHz. So the N810 has the same basic hard- and software as the N800.

Re:It's N800 plus. Not faster. (4, Informative)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030075)

Um.. the specs say that the N810 has a TI OMAP 2420 at 400mhz as compared to the slower 330mhz cpu on the N800.. So it's the same CPU, but clocked faster.

http://www.nseries.com/nseries/v3/media/sections/products/tech_specs/en-R1/tech_specs_n810_en_R1.html [nseries.com]

Different processor (1)

feranick (858651) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030135)

Apparently reading the tech specs requires too much of an effort for lots of /. readers.

From the article, The N810 uses an Arm 400MHz processor, versus the 320MHz used by the N800.

http://www.engadget.com/2007/10/17/nokia-n810-gets-official/ [engadget.com]

   

It better be more stable than the N770 (2, Informative)

Thomasje (709120) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029549)

I love the concept -- being able to surf the web while lying on the couch is really awkward with a laptop, and much nicer with a little tablet. Also, it's nice to take along and use at WiFi hotspots in airports and whatnot.

However, I soured on the N770 pretty quickly because it would crash all the time. The thing may run Linux, but it's a stripped-down version, with a completely new user interface, and thus there is plenty of room for Nokia to introduce bugs. I downloaded their system software update, but the crashes kept on coming. I'd say I had at least one crash a day; about half my sessions would end with a crash instead of a normal shutdown. In the end, I got so frustrated I threw it in the trash. I couldn't even in good conscience sell the thing on eBay.

I still like the concept, and I specifically do not consider the iPhone an alternative because I don't want a cell phone, but Nokia isn't getting any more of my money unless these later tablets (N800 and N810) are much better in the stability department.

Re:It better be more stable than the N770 (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029703)

Yep, my 770 is sitting in the junk pile. Got so bad that it wouldn't even boot. I'm sure I could figure out what's wrong, but it isn't worth it = the thing was too slow, too clunky and too unstable.

I'm sure the new version is better, but I'm rather leery of Nokia and the entire concept of the tablet. I'll wait it out a few more iterations, thank you.

Re:It better be more stable than the N770 (1)

ThisOrThat (832791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029951)

That's odd. I just got a 770 (slightly used) and it's been working very well for me for the past week. I think it may have crashed three times, I suspect it ran low on memory but I'm not sure. Other then the few times it rebooted itself I've been very impressed with how it works and the price was right for me (I'm cheap). Just being able to load an xterm on the thing via a few clicks was pretty darn cool! On a side note, I happen to like the look of the 770 better then the N800 or N810, I guess silver is the in-color now days... - Justin

My prediction (3, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029797)

In 2008/2009, the dominant web tablet will be... the iPod touch.* Specifically, once it has been revved once or twice and you can get first-gen units for $100-150. At that point, buying one just for the Internet capabilities will be common. The iPod and iPhone are being sold as music players and phones, respectively, and that's why people will buy them en masse today, but sometime soon we'll turn around and realize that we've all got these great web tablets in our hands and that's when things will get fun. No one is rushing out to buy expensive, (mostly) single-purpose web tablets today--but people are rushing out to buy music players and phones that happen to have browsers.

One neat thing that will happen is early-adopters will start to do more cool home-automation stuff. Once all the devices in your home have built-in web-based control panels, every iPhone and iPod touch will become the ultimate universal remote. I'm not saying I'll pick it up every time I want to change the channel, but there are lots of other cool things I have in mind--lighting, security, etc. I'm in the midst of hooking up a security camera system at home that will feed into a Mac mini which will serve out the cameras' pictures like a webcam--so with my iPhone, I'll be able to check on my house at any time from anywhere. I'm hardly the first person to do this, but the main reason I am doing it is because I now have with me a small device that I can see the pics with at any time--at work, on the road, on vacation, with or without WiFi access.

* note to Nokia fans,anyone who thinks a 320x480 screen is too small, and anyone else who doesn't like the iPhone--I'm not saying it'll be the best web tablet, just the most common. My personal belief is that the iPhone's shrink-zoom-pan mode of web browsing is an inelegant workaround and I'd love more pixels. That said, it does do the job OK. And when looking at sites optimized for the small screen, it's great to have a device that is so physically small.

No FM transmitter (1)

Tahd (966067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029863)

There is no FM transmitter included.

Re:No FM transmitter (1)

leoxx (992) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030129)

According to the specifications [nseries.com] from Nokia's site, you are correct. That is disappointing, but not a deal breaker for me.

Social networking aid? (5, Funny)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029905)

I'm not exactly an expert on this popularity thing, but I'm pretty sure if you're walking around town with your internet tablet so you can Facebook/MySpace/whatever on the go, you probably need more social networking aid than any computer can provide.

N770 (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029909)

My wife and I got a couple of Nokia 770's (cheap) a few months ago on Woot when the unit was being discontinued. For the most part I like the unit and the concept. I particularly like the fact that you can leave it in 'hibernate' mode most of the time and it comes on almost instantly. The first connection (after leaving hibernate) to WiFi is slow (a few seconds) but it's not bad after that.

I've got an old Linksys WRT54G, and the tablet is usable anywhere in the house or for that matter on my property (1/4 acre). The Opera browser is usable, but not great. RSS news reader works fine. On trips I can take and view videos converted from my PVR. With a 2 GB card, I can put 4-5 hours of video on the device. The screen is a nice size and the resolution 800x400 is good for a handheld device. Battery life while surfing is about 3-4 hours between recharges. I've not tried VOIP with it.

Unlike certain other handheld devices, it's a very open platform. Lots of good OSS applications available that add considerably to the utility of the device. One of the best is the FBReader which turns the device into a very nice e-book reader.

From a usability point of view, navigation is not real well designed. Input with the stylus is tedious, but OK in small doses.

Overall, I like the device and am glad I bought it.

Re:N770 (1)

ThisOrThat (832791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030147)

I agree, it could be that I'm still "geek'ed" about mine as I just got a 770 a week ago (the price was right). At times the cpu does spike and a page is not responsive when trying to scroll around it for a bit, but then it's good. I also really like how long it can remain powered on with the screen off. What can I say it's cool, at least to me. - Justin

This one is too expensive for its niche (1)

dogen (574612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029957)

It has to be priced lower than a laptop or forget it. Why spend $479 when you can get a simple laptop for $499.

Does _this version_ have a decent calendar? (1)

RunzWithScissors (567704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030013)

If it doesn't, then it has no chance in the PDA marketplace. I know, I had a Nokia 770, it worked great; only problem, calendar sucked. It did have the ability to set an alarm, once per day. WTF? How useful is that?

Seriously, who puts out a PDA that doesn't have a working calendar and expects it to be a success?

-Runz

Re:Does _this version_ have a decent calendar? (1)

ThisOrThat (832791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030189)

Nokia never said these devices were PDA's. There are OSS PIM out there you can get but Nokia left that off the devices for a reason, it's called an "Internet Tablet" not a PDA. So even though it can be used as one, it was not designed to be one, at least that seems to be the case from what I've read so far. - Justin

Re:Does _this version_ have a decent calendar? (2, Insightful)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21030349)

They aren't PDAs or phones. They're web tablets!! The main intended use is as an extension to an existing LAN, or as a browsing/mail/music/photo box that can piggyback off free WiFi or a Bluetooth phone.

Don't try to force a triangular peg into a square hole. :-)

Why it will fail -it's not phone capable! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21030027)

It's not a phone. Why don't they release a version of this that is capable of cell phone (cell phone, not VOIP phone) ??

Most people think it has phone network capabilities and are surprised when they find out it doesnt have it. The purpose of a browser in such a small factor is to use on the go .. not at home where I have WiFi access (i have a laptop at home too).

Nokia doesn't get it. Neither does Motorola. But Apple gets it.
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