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Linux Based Nokia N800 Internet Tablet Reviewed 127

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

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  • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:26AM (#18782021) Homepage
    That's why I use a Windows-compatible pen computer (Fujtitsy Stylistic), so that I can have (bear with me, it's an odd-ball and eclectic list) Adobe Acrobat, FontLab, FontForge, FreeHand, LyX, PhotoFiltre (this one is on trial --- may need to go back to PhotoShop or try the GIMP again, wish I'd kept my copy of Fauve xRes), WinTeXshell (w/ both MikTeX and w32tex) &c.

  • Function (Score:4, Interesting)

    by simpl3x ( 238301 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:33AM (#18782131)
    As a platform the thing is very nifty, true, but it has some interesting uses as a platform if people developed with a different mindset. The 770 and this device changed my thoughts about what mobile devices should be. I'd like a small useful "phone" that acts as a local router, with devices that perform specific functionality around it. Think of the tablet as a screen for your mobile.

    As an ADD'er, I'm interested in how I can create tools for keeping me on track. The 800 can sit at the desk, act as a radio, run widgets, and act as something like Xerox's multiple display system. There aren't a whole lot of thought tools in this area (mobile), and a lot of opportunity. I'm happy that Nokia has the gumption to put something like this on the market. Your mileage may vary...
  • I'm tempted (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:40AM (#18782271) Journal
    What I really want is this thing, with a real cell phone feature as well. That way I'd rig it to receive calls via skype and fail over to the cell when wifi wasn't available. Oh, and I'd like the phone to have a prepaid option as well. There really isn't a combination I know of that has prepaid, wifi, and skpye capabilites in a single phone.

    Please let me know if there is one for the US of A.
  • by bofar ( 902274 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:41AM (#18782287)
    I veiw my Nokia as a dedicated system for browsing my bank and stock accounts. It is cheap enough to set aside for that reason and I am confident that my interactions with these important websites are through a browser/system that has not been hacked.
  • by LighterShadeOfBlack ( 1011407 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @10:56AM (#18782521) Homepage

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

    The bleeding edge guys get their bragging rights for a few years, the manufacturers get their R&D funding, and everyone else gets a better product in the end. Everybody wins.
  • Also have one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wilburdg ( 178573 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @11:05AM (#18782631)
    I gotta chime in here... I also purchased an N800 and am overall very satisfied with it. The thing is amazingly capable, especially when paired with a bluetooth keyboard. I use the Think Outside XTBTUE keyboard. The keyboard folds up to a size not much larger than the N800. I can walk around with an 802.11b/g capable, fully functional Debian based machine in my pocket, with ssh, vnc, and a keyboard that I can type on at full speed.

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

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

    PS. Hear that companies? I vote with my wallet and will gladly give my money to companies that embrace opensource software.
  • by DMoylan ( 65079 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @11:15AM (#18782745)
    good luck to the hacker getting a keyboard logger on that! :-) probably possible with a vnc server but bloody difficult.

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

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

    overall i really liked the 770. still use it once in a while. it's greatest use is viewing files still on the phone, photos, video, mp3's as the file manager on the 770 can cut, copy and paste to the phone in my pocket. i don't see myself upgrading to the 800 unless some killer app comes along.
  • by AragornSonOfArathorn ( 454526 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @11:42AM (#18783143)
    Indeed, FBReader is the killer app, imo. The screen is incredible. I suppose it's a bit expensive just to read ebooks on, but it does have a lot of other nice features, and is very hackable. Also, I got mine for 20% off from my local CompUSA, which is closing :-)

    I'm currently looking for a folding bluetooth keyboard that costs less than a million dollars... with a compact keyboard, it would make a great little mobile terminal.
  • by Grinin ( 1050028 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @12:34PM (#18783899) Homepage
    A local CompUSA was going out of business so they gave me 40% off on the N800. I just had to buy it. As a result, I've been installing open-source applications for it, and they are amazing. One of the selling points of the device was the bluetooth integration with a GPS unit. The device runs an application called "Maemo" for the desktop, and its built on Debian. I downloaded "MaemoMapper" which has GPS, Routes, and Maps, and once you get the "Flite" library installed, it reads you directions. All for far less than a standalone GPS. Throw in all the other features, and it was too good to pass up. The developer base is growing extensively, and more and more projects are opening up. I already have NMap on the device which is great since you don't need to carry around a laptop to do some testing.
  • Re:Its Linux! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @01:37PM (#18785033)
    "Its Linux. That means it HAS to be good, right?"

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

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

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

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

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

    I'm sure the situation is similar in other areas, maps just happen to be the one I was looking at at.
  • by geneven ( 992456 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @02:26PM (#18785893)
    I travel regularly from San Diego to LA and back by train, a 5-hour trip. I now take my N800 with me instead of a laptop. There is no wifi on the train, but I use the N800 as a book reader, mp3 player, spreadsheet, gps map device (the gps doesn't seem to work for me on the train, but the map system certainly does and gives me details about the scenery I am passing) and note-taker. I probably won't take a laptop with me next time I travel abroad, because I use this much more than my Dell Latitude. I got the N800 in January and have had no screen sensitivity problems at all. Before the firmware update, I did have to reflash several times. I added a 2 GB memory card and sent off for a 4 GB card. If you are willing to spend the bucks, you could probably have 16 GB now, room for lots of stuff. What I particularly like the N800 for is having a computer with me at all times, maybe not the best for every function, but something that will almost always do the job. I hated the feeling of leaving a cruise ship in Alaska and coming across a Wifi bar but not having bothered to lug my laptop with me. Now I'll always be ready. And I can always read more of The Forsyte Saga and The Secret Garden... (Oh! And the alarm wakes me up nicely for a 4 a.m. jog!)
  • by Alizarin Erythrosin ( 457981 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @04:07PM (#18787275)
    I have a 770, and I can't wait for some sort of bluetooth storage like Seagate's D.A.V.E. or that Bluonyx thing by Agere. Then I can store more movies and music on it than I can with the small 2gb flash card that my 770 has.

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

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!