Nokia unveils $350 Wi-Fi tablet

PAN-tastic, Linux-driven 770


Nokia took the wraps off a Wi-Fi internet tablet today at the LinuxWorld show in New York, the first in a new range of consumer devices from the phone giant. The pocket-sized device has no cellular capability, but boasts an 800x480 screen, runs the Opera browser and will retail for around $350 - less than rival PDAs and some of its own high-end smartphones.

Nokia sees browsing and email as the primary uses, but the Tablet will be bundled with internet radio, voice over IP and an RSS feed reader. It's an open platform, and unlike its phone range, there's no built-in DRM or similar shenanigans to cripple the user experience.

The 770 Internet Tablet is also Nokia's first Linux handheld, and Nokia is launching a Linux development platform "maemo" specifically for this new range of handhelds. It uses the ARM port of GNU Linux Debian 2.6 and runs Texas Instruments 1710 processor. Executives cited time to market and the community of enthusiastic developers as their reasons for opting for Linux over Symbian OS.

The 770 will be available through general electronics retailers or direct from Nokia's website. The company says broadband providers are particularly interested in carrying it, too.

Nokia bridled at comparisons with today's PDAs and Microsoft's Tablet PC initiative.

"We don't like to think it's a PDA. To us a PDA is an extension of a PC. This is almost like a mobile phone of the internet," Janne Jormalainen, VP of Convergence Products at Nokia Multimedia told us. "If you've used browsed the web on a PDA, well, you know what that's like."

"The tablet PC is really another kind of a PC in its different form factor, so you can't even compare these two," he said.

(He was too diplomatic to refer to the Tablet PC's most notorious bug).

Nokia's Tablet

The 770 has no camera or hard disk, and for storage the 770 Tablet relies on the postage stamp sized RS-MMC format, with a 64MB card in the package. For audio, Nokia has built-in a standard 3.5mm audio jack. Nokia expects users to transfer bookmarks and saved pages to a PC via Bluetooth or USB. Much more of a practical hindrance, we suspect, is the battery life. Even with a hefty 1500 mAh battery the Tablet will only run for up to three hours because of the power-guzzling Wi-Fi radio.

(As a comparison, our Nokia 9300 comfortably maintains two days of mostly-on GPRS).

So why had low-cost internet appliances failed to catch on, we wondered?

"The internet has matured - this is really a mainstream thing now. People have needs at home beyond using the desktop PC or the PC of the house - it's really a matter of having the critical mass of uses for these services," said Jormalainen.

That depends on where you are, of course. In the West the net means the web, but Asia thinks more of specific social activities that just happen to be network-enabled, such as games and chat. Even with Opera's outstanding browser, the mobile web is a poor relation to a modern PC: try placing a bet or booking a holiday on the move. And so it's likely to remain.

However, ditch the web and there are plenty of network-enabled services to enjoy: internet radio is one, and personal file sharing is another. Behind the scenes, Nokia has given plenty of thought to what the world would like if traditional compensation models were applied to digital media. Sony's PSP has Wi-Fi, but unlike Sony, Nokia doesn't own movie studios or recording companies, which can be an advantage in getting a product to market. The killer app for a device like Nokia's Tablet won't be VoIP, but the "What am I playing?" menu.

The Airpod, or Bluepod, is almost here. Now where's that Rendezvous port? ®

Related stories

Promiscuous BluePod file swapping - coming to a PDA near you
Grassroots hackers create file-swapping wireless iPod
More promiscuous data exchanges with strangers
US mobile carriers shun iTunes
Landscape fills with PDA smart phones
Reboot daily, Tablet users advised
Tablet PCs struggle for acceptance
Moto exec drops AirPod hint


Other stories you might like

  • Twitter founder Dorsey beats hasty retweet from the board
    As shareholders sue the social network amid Elon Musk's takeover scramble

    Twitter has officially entered the post-Dorsey age: its founder and two-time CEO's board term expired Wednesday, marking the first time the social media company hasn't had him around in some capacity.

    Jack Dorsey announced his resignation as Twitter chief exec in November 2021, and passed the baton to Parag Agrawal while remaining on the board. Now that board term has ended, and Dorsey has stepped down as expected. Agrawal has taken Dorsey's board seat; Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor has assumed the role of Twitter's board chair. 

    In his resignation announcement, Dorsey – who co-founded and is CEO of Block (formerly Square) – said having founders leading the companies they created can be severely limiting for an organization and can serve as a single point of failure. "I believe it's critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction," Dorsey said. He didn't respond to a request for further comment today. 

    Continue reading
  • Snowflake stock drops as some top customers cut usage
    You might say its valuation is melting away

    IPO darling Snowflake's share price took a beating in an already bearish market for tech stocks after filing weaker than expected financial guidance amid a slowdown in orders from some of its largest customers.

    For its first quarter of fiscal 2023, ended April 30, Snowflake's revenue grew 85 percent year-on-year to $422.4 million. The company made an operating loss of $188.8 million, albeit down from $205.6 million a year ago.

    Although surpassing revenue expectations, the cloud-based data warehousing business saw its valuation tumble 16 percent in extended trading on Wednesday. Its stock price dived from $133 apiece to $117 in after-hours trading, and today is cruising back at $127. That stumble arrived amid a general tech stock sell-off some observers said was overdue.

    Continue reading
  • Amazon investors nuke proposed ethics overhaul and say yes to $212m CEO pay
    Workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability and, um, wage 'fairness' all struck down in vote

    Amazon CEO Andy Jassy's first shareholder meeting was a rousing success for Amazon leadership and Jassy's bank account. But for activist investors intent on making Amazon more open and transparent, it was nothing short of a disaster.

    While actual voting results haven't been released yet, Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky told Reuters that stock owners voted down fifteen shareholder resolutions addressing topics including workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability, and pay fairness. Amazon's board recommended voting no on all of the proposals.

    Jassy and the board scored additional victories in the form of shareholder approval for board appointments, executive compensation and a 20-for-1 stock split. Jassy's executive compensation package, which is tied to Amazon stock price and mostly delivered as stock awards over a multi-year period, was $212 million in 2021. 

    Continue reading
  • Confirmed: Broadcom, VMware agree to $61b merger
    Unless anyone out there can make a better offer. Oh, Elon?

    Broadcom has confirmed it intends to acquire VMware in a deal that looks set to be worth $61 billion, if it goes ahead: the agreement provides for a “go-shop” provision under which the virtualization giant may solicit alternative offers.

    Rumors of the proposed merger emerged earlier this week, amid much speculation, but neither of the companies was prepared to comment on the deal before today, when it was disclosed that the boards of directors of both organizations have unanimously approved the agreement.

    Michael Dell and Silver Lake investors, which own just over half of the outstanding shares in VMware between both, have apparently signed support agreements to vote in favor of the transaction, so long as the VMware board continues to recommend the proposed transaction with chip designer Broadcom.

    Continue reading
  • Perl Steering Council lays out a backwards compatible future for Perl 7
    Sensibly written code only, please. Plus: what all those 'heated discussions' were about

    The much-anticipated Perl 7 continues to twinkle in the distance although the final release of 5.36.0 is "just around the corner", according to the Perl Steering Council.

    Well into its fourth decade, the fortunes of Perl have ebbed and flowed over the years. Things came to a head last year, with the departure of former "pumpking" Sawyer X, following what he described as community "hostility."

    Part of the issue stemmed from the planned version 7 release, a key element of which, according to a post by the steering council "was to significantly reduce the boilerplate needed at the top of your code, by enabling a lot of widely used modules / pragmas."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022