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Nokia Takes Third Swing at Internet Tablet 275

Posted by Zonk
from the it-dices-it-slices-look-at-that-tomato dept.
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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Nokia Takes Third Swing at Internet Tablet

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  • by hypermanng (155858) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @02:38PM (#21029113) Homepage
    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 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by batray (257663) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @02:40PM (#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.
  • It's the price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by realmolo (574068) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @02:41PM (#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.

  • Best Spin Ever (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wordplay (54438) <geo@snarksoft.com> on Thursday October 18, 2007 @02:41PM (#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-.
  • by apodyopsis (1048476) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @02:44PM (#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]
  • by pherthyl (445706) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @02:44PM (#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.
  • by Wordplay (54438) <geo@snarksoft.com> on Thursday October 18, 2007 @02:47PM (#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.
  • by Victor Tramp (5336) <info@[ ]s154.net ['ros' in gap]> on Thursday October 18, 2007 @02:53PM (#21029403) Homepage
    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!
  • by Werrismys (764601) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @02:56PM (#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 :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2007 @03:11PM (#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:Simple Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BigGerman (541312) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @03:13PM (#21029745)
    Define: successful. N800 is regularly on the top of Amazon bestseller list higher than Mac laptops.
  • My prediction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sootman (158191) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @03:14PM (#21029797) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Re:Best Spin Ever (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @03:24PM (#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.
  • Re:Simple Question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @03:25PM (#21029991) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by curmudgeous (710771) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @03:29PM (#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.
  • 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. :-)
  • Slashdot reaction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sunspire (784352) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @04:07PM (#21030637)
    When did Slashdot turn into such a depressing place?

    Here you have a device that is built on the Linux kernel, X.org server, GTK toolkit, GStreamer media framework, supports both open SIP and closed Skype, has a browser derived from Firefox 3.0 that can actually use Firefox plugins and includes Flash 9... if your only reaction is "what's the use?" you must have absolutely no imagination or be totally burned out on tech. The GPS + included Wayfinder software alone makes this device a no-brainer over any TomTom or Garmin in my book, as not only do you get the navigator and the car mount in the box, you also get a kick-ass hackable, pocketable device.

    The reception at Engadget/Gizmondo seems to have been positive across the board. Are they wrong, or is Slashdot just full of bitter and cynical people these days?
  • Re:It's the price (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sunspire (784352) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @04:18PM (#21030845)
    You think that price is bad? Get this, the Thinkpad X series baseline model starts at $1300. Boy, whoever priced that one must surely be feeling embarrassed now, why would anyone buy it over the Wal-Mart notebook...

    Or maybe, with the GPS, navigation software, camera, and the fact that it weights roughly 200 grams and fits in your pocket, it could be that the N810 isn't really competing with the Wal-mart notebook at all.
  • by DingerX (847589) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @06:14PM (#21032563) Journal
    Yeah, well, to be fair, nobody mentions it, because it doesn't really work yet. Current word is that GTalk on the n800 supports some sort of video phone calls. The N810 will have the Gizmo project support it as well. At that point (aka, a couple weeks), it might be worth mentioning, especially since the small screen size and side camera placement make the parallax less distracting. Right now, it's the ongoing joke. It would be cool, but until it gets working on a wide scale, not even the fanbois are gonna plug it. So, I see the press releases, I hear the news, and I hope OS2008 will be "all that": enabling it to be a true portable video/VoIP device, but while I have no shame mentioning all the bits and pieces that half work, I won't bring that up. Yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2007 @06:26PM (#21032675)
    I'll second that motion, and up the ante . . . download the Maemo SDK VMWare image, and have a whack at developing applications for the device yourselves, without actually buying the thing:

    http://maemovmware.garage.maemo.org/ [maemo.org]

      . . . and maybe even read the tutorial . . .

    http://maemo.org/development/documentation/tutorials/Maemo_tutorial_bora.html [maemo.org]

              Your N8xx has the bestest, coolest applications ever, because YOU wrote them, and YOU think they are.

              Oh, and my N800 was worth the 400 price, just for the s00per sekrit extra application installation back door that prompts: "Which pill? Red Pill? Blue Pill?" You gotta luv a product that allows some geek humor to slip through.
  • Re:My assesment (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Holmwood (899130) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @06:34PM (#21032801)
    First, the N800 alone (ignoring the N810) is far faster than the 770. And the N810 is 25% faster than the N800 (400 MHz vs 320 MHz). So rest assured on those grounds.

    Unfortunately Nokias lack of priority given to this device [the 770]
    Err... what? They've brought out a new model roughly every 10 months, with the N800 materializing around January 2007 and the N810 in October as the third. Each model has gotten quite a bit faster and substantially stabler and added many features. True, they've not continued to upgrade the 770 because it just doesn't have the cpu capability. Some people are annoyed by this, fair enough.

    Realistically, I don't see how they could have pumped out new models a lot faster. They've done regular and impressive software updates as well, about 2-3 major ones per year, adding google talk, Skype, SIP, etc.

    True, the N810 doesn't have a phone. Or multitouch. And the iPhone doesn't have GPS. Or expandable cards. Or openness (yet). Or the resolution. And I'd bet the N810's screen has less color depth. Isn't the iPhone 20 bit, not 16bit?

    The two are aimed at different niches. No question, if I wanted the best video or audio player going, I'd get an iPhone. If I wanted a browser or book reader or GPS device, I'd get the Nokia. If I wanted a phone I'd get an iPhone. If I wanted an open computer I'd get the Nokia. etc.

    For many of us, the fact that the Nokia isn't a $500 phone tied to a $2000 contract is a big plus. It's exactly what we want. For others, the fact that the iPhone is a nice seamless device is what they want.

    I think Nokia's a little premature in talking about going head-to-head with Apple. The N-series is still a bit more hobbyist in my mind. But it's incredibly powerful, open and flexible.

    -Holmwood.
  • Re:OLPC and EEE (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mike Buddha (10734) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @07:36PM (#21033589)

    Both are bigger, but also far more capable and less expensive.
    And how much good is that extra money doing you when you're sitting on the crapper without it?

  • Re:Best Spin Ever (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cjstone (1144829) on Thursday October 18, 2007 @08:51PM (#21034533) Homepage
    On mobile tech, there's more of a balance. Make the thing too heavy, and people won't want to carry it around. Make it too light, and it feels like an empty plastic shell.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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