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Nokia's Linux Handheld 320

Nils Faerber writes "Today Nokia announced the introduction of the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet device along with the Open Source based Maemo Development Platform. With this new product Nokia enters several new worlds all at once. A new concept for the use of a handheld device, a new fully visible open source based development process and the explicit use of open source software in a commercial grade product. The typical use case for the Nokia 770 is to be the internet usability extension to your mobile phone or other wireless internet access equipment. It is extremely portable by its small formfactor, usable for almost all internet applications thorugh its exceptional resolution of 800x480 pixel and its multimedia capabilities by making use of a TI-OMAP CPU and a accompanying digital signal processor (DSP) core. The consequent use of open source software and technology basing on the Linux kernel 2.6, X11-server technology and the GTK+ toolkit the resulting new Hildon graphical user interface creates a fully new user interface experience for portable Linux devices."
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Nokia's Linux Handheld

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  • by the_xaqster ( 877576 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @09:51AM (#12633618) Homepage Journal
    Take 2 and call me in the morning....
  • Good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @09:52AM (#12633619)
    If this gets popular, and as presumably the interface will be similar to all other Nokia products, people will realise that Linux is not necessarily hard to use.
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:11AM (#12633820)
      people will realise that Linux is not necessarily hard to use.

      If by "people" you mean the general non-computer-geek population, then I really don't think they care what OS the unit is running. Tivo is easy to use and runs on Linux. Archos media players are easy to use... The list continues.

      Linux *can* be difficult to use, especially as a home OS. UIs that lay over the kernel and OS don't have to be.
      • by fm6 ( 162816 )
        Exactly right. Linux advocates need to stop thinking of themselves as evangelists. People will buy what works -- they could care less about geek religious issues. If you want to attack the Microsoft Monoculture, deal with the issues that makes it dominant: legacy support, interoperability, retraining costs.
    • my Nokia trinitron monitor's interface sucks. My Nokia cellphone's interface is fine, but nothing to be excited about. But then none of these devices run Linux. My Tivo has a pretty good interface for what it does, and that IS running on Linux, but I would caution anyone from concluding that since the TiVo is easy to use Linux is easy to use.

      Linux is free and customizable: companies with good designers and UI engineers can put good interfaces on top of it.
    • Re:Good (Score:3, Informative)

      The FAQ [] confirms that "the user interface has its roots in the smartphone Series 90 user interface."
  • Left-handed model? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oni ( 41625 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @09:53AM (#12633626) Homepage
    I doubt there will be a left-handed model. Pretty much every PDA or device like this one has buttons on the left side, which I can't use because I'm holding the device with my right hand because I need to write on it with my left hand.

    Oh well, sucks to be me I guess.
  • No ethernet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by noisymime ( 816237 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @09:53AM (#12633627) Homepage
    I know it kind of goes against the whole portability idea, but no ethernet?
  • GStreamer (Score:5, Informative)

    by JohnFluxx ( 413620 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @09:55AM (#12633650)
    Please note that it is also recently revealed that Nokia has been funding GStreamer ! Thank you Nokia!
  • Battery Life (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AngryScot ( 795131 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @09:56AM (#12633663)
    3 hour battery life seems to be a little short if you are going to be traveling and want to use it.

    I suppose you could charge it in your car...
    • My thoughts exactly. 3 hour battery puts this into the "toy" range. You can't even pretend it'll work through a business day--it's for having something to surf porn with while on the john.

      Exceedingly useless. Great idea, but the battery kills it.

    • Come on, nothing has a working battery life of much more than 3 hours. Look at the screen on this thing. If a 3 hour battery life is the best gripe you can come up with, this thing will sell like hotcakes.

      Me, I'm griping about the storage. What, no 20GB harddrive? Where will I keep my movies?

    • Re:Battery Life (Score:4, Interesting)

      by l810c ( 551591 ) * on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:34AM (#12634040)
      3 hour battery life seems to be a little short if you are going to be traveling and want to use it.

      It's only 1500 mAh, your average NiMH AA is at 2300 mAh each. This battery must be puny.

      An external battery pack would be a cool option. 2 AA's in a small tube with wire could provide nearly 10 hours.

      • Re:Battery Life (Score:3, Informative)

        by wowbagger ( 69688 )

        It's only 1500 mAh, your average NiMH AA is at 2300 mAh each. This battery must be puny.

        An external battery pack would be a cool option. 2 AA's in a small tube with wire could provide nearly 10 hours.

        10 hours IF AND ONLY IF the pad runs on 1.25VDC, and you parallel the 2 AAs to get 1.25VDC @ 4600mAh.

        If, as is more likely, the device runs on about 7VDC, you would need 12 2300mAh AAs running series/parallel (2 parallel strings of 6 batteries in series) to give you that time.

        Remember - amp-hours ARE N

      • Excep that AAa run at 1.5V each which is unlikely to be the voltage of the battery in this baby (phone & PDA batteries are usually between 3.5 and 5V)

        So yes you get 4600mAh with two AA batteries but only at 1.5V (or more precisely 1.2V which is the electric potential for Ni-MH).
        Or you get 2300mAh at 1.2V*2 (2.4V).

        You should think in terms of power by having a simple U*I
        So if the battery in the tablet rated for 1500mAh @ 4V, then power = 6W
        Power for a couple of Ni-MH at 2300mAh each is 2*(2.3*1.2)=5.52
    • Never mind travelling. Even during an ordinary work day, you're often going to be away from your desk for more than 3 hours at a time.
  • Stylus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by teiresias ( 101481 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @09:57AM (#12633667)
    I've been using my Gateway tablet for about half a year now and while the stylus works and works well, it's not something I felt the same level of comfort using as I do when I use a pen or pencil. My guess would be that the stlus seems to slip more over the very slick screen.

    In regards to the Nokia 770, the stylus seems to be the primary form of input and command for this device. Unless Nokia has changed the feel of stylus, this might hurt adopters of what looks like a neat PDA/tablet hybrid. Indeed, implementing a small keyboard similiar to the Sharp Zaurus PDA's would be very nice.
    • Or maybe a bluetooth keyboard or IR keyboard. I seem to recall seeing some cute little folding bluetooth keyboards a while back. In fact ThinkGeek has one. []

      Input methods and battery life have been the two major reasons I haven't purchased a PDA since the Palm V. You could go weeks between recharging your Palm, while you're lucky to get through a day with the latest crop. I got sick of grafitti after a while, too. Sony's Clie looked promising but the ones with the keyboards were inevitably more than I wante

    • A screen protector vastly helps with the plastic on slick surface issue. It makes writingly substantially easier.

      Nobody says you have to use the stylus that comes with. They sell multifunction pen/stylus devices the size of a regular ballpoint pen for about US$10 - $20.
  • Better picture (Score:3, Informative)

    by BenBenBen ( 249969 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @09:57AM (#12633669)
    Here []

    I've seen $350 quoted as a price point - once more and more devices start offering control access over TCP/IP (think TiVoweb, Xbox Media Centre etc) I think we've got a good candidate for the much-trumpeted "terminal" device that everyone uses around the home. I had the PSP pegged as a good place to start, providing a vibrant homebrew community springs up around it. This Nokia device offers that sort of functionality and development possibilites right out the box.
  • PDA please! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by johansalk ( 818687 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @09:57AM (#12633672)
    Looks exciting; can't wait for them to make a PDA out of it. I just wish they'd used regular SD instead of reduced size memory cards.
  • Since it supports Linux and X11, will it run and support KDE/Qt development?
    • No it won't (Score:2, Informative)

      by dcrocha ( 776603 )
      It only supports GTK user interfaces. I have direct contact with people on that project and that's something that will not change for now.
    • Well, yes, it should: since it is X11 based and since KDE and Gnome have worked on standardizing common desktop features between them, Qt and KDE applications should work pretty well on it.

      Furthermore, deriving a KDE handheld environment from the KDE desktop software should not be much work.

      This is the way handheld Linux software should be done. Qt/Embedded and Qtopia's approach is unnecessarily exclusionary: with Qt/Embedded, you cannot realistically use any non-Qt GUI applications on the handheld.
  • Hm these guys at Nokia forgot putting a mobile phone into this thing...
  • Nokia's press site has some high-resolution images [].

  • It will fail (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lelitsch ( 31136 )
    Not because of the price, but because it doesn't have any meaningful storage options. 128MB Flash is not going to do anything for movies, images or other downloads. Now if they'd put in a hard drive, or a expansion slot so you can get a few gigs of storage, you could download a movie to watch when you get out of range of broadband. And even in a few years, that's still going to be a lot of places. Ten years from now, wireless broadband will be truely everywhere, but even in places like Japan and Korea it's
    • Re:It will fail (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fbjon ( 692006 )
      BS. My pda has 128mb built in, and has an SD slot. I have no problems with storage. Besides, how much storage do you need for browsing, mail, etc.? This isn't a portable dvd-player.

      • There is no reason that this device should be solely for browsing the web or checking email. In fact, they make a big deal about all the media formats it supports:
        • Audio: MP3, Real Audio, MPEG4, AAC, WAV, AMR, MP2
        • Image: JPEG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, PNG, Animated GIF format, SVG-tiny, ICO
        • Video: MPEG1, MPEG4, Real Video, H.263, AVI, 3GP

        I have an MP3 player from a while back, 64mb built in with 128mb card -- 192 mbs is really not adequate. You have to carefully select and predict what you want to listen to w

    • I suspect the card slot will soon have larger cards, and it does have a USB port. And who wants to watch a movie on a 5.5 * 3 inch screen?

      Would be a great picture viewer.

      • Ask the people that make Pocket DivX, my former boss, just about anybody who would care to watch a movie on a 3 x 2.5" 320x240 screen. They're out there.

        If you were stuck at the airport all night and all you had were a few movies on compact flash and a decent pair of headphones, you'd understand this more.

        Never underestimate the processing power bored people need with their PDA's.
    • Re:It will fail (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Combuchan ( 123208 ) *
      Yes, we'll have wireless broadband everywhere, but only so you may legitimately download Approved Content(tm) from Vericingusprint, and they'll continue charging outrageous prices for even sending a kilobyte of data. Lord help you if you want unproxied HTTP or TCP with enough ports open to do any real work.

      That is, there might be broadband everywhere in a few years, just don't count on using it.
    • So you want to sit down and watch a movie, but you can't be bothered to find a hotspot? Whatever. You can't dismiss a device just because it doesn't support a minor need -- one already met by existing products. Nokia is a wireless company, so of course they hardware assumes that connectivity is available.

      Battery life is more of an issue.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:12AM (#12633838) le/2005/05/25/AR2005052500555.html []
    "In one similarity to Nokia's smart phones, the tablet employs the Opera browser from Opera Software ASA."
  • I guess this device will be limited in its flexibility to make it easier to use for the average joe. I'm waiting for a project like Familiar [] and/or GPE [] (famous for their iPAQ system) to port their stuff to the device...really sweet then :-)
    • I'm waiting for a project like Familiar and/or GPE (famous for their iPAQ system) to port their stuff to the device

      That should not be necessary. I am a big fan of Familiar and GPE, having installed them on several iPAQs. You will recognize that Maemo and GPE have a lot of things in common such as GTK+, Matchbox and many other parts of their respective platforms (check the Maemo SDK for more info about the platform).

      With Maemo, Nokia has done a great job in polishing the user interface and cleaning

      • I'm more hoping to get the ipkg package system working on that thing, being able to install additional software would be extremely cool. Consider how many custom packages there are for iPAQ/Familiar [] or Linksys WRT54G/OpenWRT [] (uses ipkg as well) devices, Nokia should be interested in getting a huge boost in application availability through the big OSS community.
  • If the screen is bright enough to be daylight readable as some of the outdoor press shots would suggest, you have a very compact, removable linux-based media engine with hi-res touchscreen and navigation buttons. If much of any developer community adopts it (hard to imagine it wouldn't), there will probably be support for all sorts of additional media formats and peripherals. Given that current sunlight-readable VGA touchscreens cost ~$3-5 hundred USD alone, this could easily knock the price of building a
  • by kerskine ( 46804 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:31AM (#12634022) Homepage Journal
    Just did a quick read of the licenses section of the FAQ. They've released the UI, Skins, and Graphics under the Creative Commons (CC) license. I guess they want to see maemo used on other platforms (assuming the license fee for the graphics is reasonable).
  • Screenshots! (Score:5, Informative)

    by spectrokid ( 660550 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @10:36AM (#12634067) Homepage
  • While a device this size is a fantastic idea, if it works as a notepad and sketchbook while playing mp3's, and would be an ideal device for students as it's far less bulky than regular Tablets, I somehow have the feeling that it is going to die a silent death because Nokia is not known for its intuition in the market.

    Remember the NGage? While Nokia makes very good mobile phones, they almost always seem to lack a feeling of just how gadgets and devices should be used. For instance, if the screen is too sma
    • Yeah, I agree. As a student, I can say it's almost perfect for me. But the difference between "almost perfect" and "perfect" is like the fine line between love and hate: In other words, it's actually useless.

      To be useful, it needs exactly two things: a normal aspect-ratio screen, so that it can function like a sheet of paper (e.g. letter size scaled 50%, or A4), and either a hard drive or a CF slot for more storage. So yeah, your comment about the screen size and storage amount was right on the mark.

  • Nokia still chooses Opera, not Firefox, for its browser. It will be interesting to see when Minimo is finally capable of running meaningfully on a device that weighs 230 grams.

    I think this device looks great, especially when it is closed.

  • No 3G/GSM? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ubera ( 107426 ) <oconnoat AT tcd DOT ie> on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @11:03AM (#12634520) Homepage
    I think it's a pity that the rather beautiful design and obviously neat software doesn't include Nokia's core function: mobile phone connectivity (and not through BT).
    • And good riddance to it. Personally I find it a bonus that it doesn't have a phone in it. I laready have phones that have BT, I don't need another one.

      And it allows the platform to be more open than if you have to adhere to the strict rules for mobile phones.

      For me the inclusion of a phone would have ment no-sale. This way it seems interesting.
  • shown in the flash on the page linked, all seem like smartphone use cases to me. Almost all of them can be summed up with "Use internet for short time periods."

    Sounds like what most people use their Treos for, but why would i want to carry around this large device that can only connect to the net if I happen to be in area with open wifi? For instance the Airport use case, if I wanted to do a quick e-mail check using airport wifi it would be ~$8/hr in most Airports. With a smartphone, most users would alre

  • Everything I want except Outlook Sync and storage for a movie or two...

    Keep trying Palm and Nokia, you've almost got it!

    Newton II where are you?
    • I agree, this device is really, really close to what I want.

      The screen resolution makes it much nicer, for me, than the LifeDrive, but having to buy mini-sd cards for storage is a negative that you don't have with the LifeDrive.

      When you say Outlook sync, I assume you mean calendar and task syncing, right? I'm sure, if it doesn't come with that out of the box, someone will create an application that does it. It's probably one of the most common use cases currently for such a device.

      Two negatives ab

  • Similar (and better) devices already exist.

    See, for example, the PMA400 [].

    It is open source, linux based, has a 30gb hd, and has many other goodies.

    But it is still nice to see that a large company like nokia is offering such a product. It will definitely help to spread linux :)

  • by RichiP ( 18379 )
    But why OH WHY isn't it a cellphone as well?!?! Just when I thought my wait for my ideal devices was over. With these specs, I'd rather shell out for a Sharp SL-C3000 ... guess I need to wait a bit more.
    • by Hast ( 24833 )
      1) As has been pointed out (multiple times) use BT with your mobile phone.
      2) How would you talk into that in any case? It would make people using the Ngage look hip and cool in comparison.
  • Finnish gadget manufacturer adopts Finnish OS. What took them so long?
  • it still sucks.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by O2dude ( 460818 )
    what about audio IN? that way it would (shock horror) actually be useful, because we could (possibly) run skype on it.
  • Games!
    I want one.
  • that is lobbying hard to bring unlimited software patents to Europe.

    I realize Nokio is a big company with many more or less independent departments; but this strikes me as "riding the horse both ways".

  • by javaxman ( 705658 ) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @01:24PM (#12636310) Journal
    That would make it usable to me. Virtual Keyboards suck, pure and simple, and as much as I like to surf the web, I'm not laying down $350 for something to look at websites with a tiny screen.

    IF the CPU ( uh, I don't see that in the spec, that makes me worry, folks... ) is powerful enough, and you could pack on external batteries to keep it going for 3 hours *while* actually using your Bluetooth keyboard, it looks like it could *almost* work as a more-portable laptop replacement. Something to type up notes on while sitting in the park or coffee shop, that kind of thing.

    Not that I'm going to run out and get one. I still look at this and think "but... maybe I just want a laptop..". On the other hand, if you could use a BT keyboard with it, it might be sort of like a low-power, extremely small laptop with a keyboard you can ditch when you're not entering lots of data... that does have a certain appeal.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.