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Linux Based Nokia N800 Internet Tablet Reviewed 127

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

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:51AM (#18782457)'s another worthless device to purchase and carry around, which has no real useful function other than glorified web browser.

    Consumerism. Yes. Credit card debt is fun.

    "It's just too much of an independent platform to be able to replace anything else, such as a notebook, a smartphone or a cell phone."
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @11:11AM (#18782717) Homepage Journal

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

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

  • Cluebat Nokia (Score:4, Insightful)

    by delire ( 809063 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @11:17AM (#18782773)
    When will gadget developers realise that it's completely stupid to put lots of tiny little holes around buttons?

    Speakers on gadgets are all very well but like so many laptops (the widescreen Apple and some Fijitsu notebooks esp) they get full of dust and gunk if the holes are facing up or around the keypad. Get it together, sheesh. Your device doesn't exist on the drawing board, the idea is that it's actually used by (grubby) humans.
  • by beefpants ( 985575 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @12:04PM (#18783419)
    I bought an n800 the day after they came out, and I have been extremely happy with it. The review recommends using it "only as a digital newspaper"?! I'm sorry, but the reviewer wasn't being very creative.

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

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

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

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

    Ever since the Toshiba Libretto, I've been waiting for a pocket-sized, touch-screen, wi-fi-enabled xterm/attack platform. The n800 is the best I've seen yet. Still, I'd recommend only using it for all the things you do with other kickass, portable linux devices. The n800 is not yet ready to replace your Aibo.
  • by amper ( 33785 ) * on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:49PM (#18785221) Journal
    That may be true, but what exactly is the point then of buying a device that runs an open OS? I mean, the whole reason I plunked down $300 for a 770 (when I knew that a replacement was in the works) is because I'm heartily sick and tired of the Palm devices I've been using (Kyocera 6135, Samsung SPH-i500, Sony Clie NX60) having absolutely no upgrades to the software available. I figured with the 770 and a new Bluetooth phone that I would be better off, but the sad fact is that there are many existing flaws in the 770, even with the latest OS update, that will likely never be fixed. Hopefully, the user community won't drop support for the 770 as quickly as Nokia has, but that remains to be seen. The potential of the 770 has barely been scratched thus far.

    There's no way I'm buying an N800 after this, unless Nokia is willing to guarantee support for longer than 1.5 years. I think I'll just go for the iPhone. At least we know Apple has produced many software updates for the iPod line over several years. I don't expect the thing to be supported forever, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect support for longer than 1.5 years. My G3 iBook, which is over 4 years old, still runs the latest, greatest Mac OS X (though of course, my new MacBook Core 2 Duo is much faster at the same tasks)...why can't Nokia do the same?
  • by Radical Moderate ( 563286 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:55PM (#18785329)
    From TFA:"the streaming performance was sub par at best. The movies were pixilated, and the audio was unsync'ed with the clips. YouTube videos are known for their notorious video quality, and the N800 doesn't have the power to remedy those issues like a PC would to tolerable levels."

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

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

    In other words, music sounds better through a decent set of headphones than over the tiny speakers crammed into an ultraportable device. The fact that this finds this interesting--as opposed to blatantly obvious-- makes his credentials suspect. And I guess I don't have a very good ear, but I can hardly ever hear the "clearly defined bits" in my digital music.
  • by juhaz ( 110830 ) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @05:51AM (#18795313) Homepage
    The chipset does support USB Host mode. Linux drivers for it don't... or should I say didn't. Someone just announced USB host mode patches for kernel [] yesterday on maemo-developers mailing list.

    Presumably you'll still need power injection hack, though.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner