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May 25, 2005

Nokia's Personal Something Device

Nokia77005252005092843Nokia has introduced a non-cell phone that uses Wi-Fi for connectivity: It's sort of a PDA, it's sort of a tablet, it's sort of a new category. It has a touch-sensitive screen. Its initial version doesn't support voice, oddly enough, but it's designed to be a kind of laptop replacement--with limited software.

So they've introduced an Internet browser for $350 that's not a general-purpose machine. It probably also requires new software development for companies that want to create add-on software--if that's even an option. Appliances, unless they meet an incredibly important form-factor niche, don't succeed. Contradict me in the comments below.

Update: Read the comments--this device is a general-purpose computer being marketed in a very limited way. Oh, and I'm apparently an idiot.


As a platform it actually sounds pretty general purpose and very open sourcey as well.

From the Nokia site:

"The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet's software is upgradeable and currently runs on the Linux-based Internet Tablet 2005 software edition."

And the folks at Gizmodo hit it on the head with this comment:

"the 770 could end up being a really cool mobile computing platform that serves as the mobile media and connectivity device the PSP should have been, if Sony hadn’t locked out developers."

Since this gadget runs Linux and there's a version of Skype for Linux, my guess is that the Nokia Tablet will soon be Skype-enabled. Or SIP-enabled. Since it also has Bluetooth, you could use your Bluetooth headset as the audio interface.

What were the price points of previous appliances?

Is it not general-purpose? I thought it would be. Why else use Debian/GNOME as the OS/Desktop?

The use case of this device is to be always connected through Wifi, in particular in your home. I don’t take the subway currently, and if I would, I wouldn’t want to show such a device, a newspaper is more discrete. But I really see myself reading blogs from my couch with this device, and such a price is not a blocking factor.

Expect also to see some streaming solutions appearing soon to watch videos stored on your PC. And of course this will make a wonderful device for Skype.

I posted my full impression on my blog:

Only techies prefer general purpose devices - the general public prefers single use appliances.

So at some point most people are going to do web browsing via a device like this - the only question is whether browser technology is stable enough yet to make such a device last the three or four years you expect from an appliance.

Glenn, you always like to bash other people for getting the facts wrong. Did you even read the press release or visit the develper site? It's a Linux PDA, for crying out loud! How is that not a general purpose machine? It's not like it's going to be hard to develop new software for the unit, as that is specifically encouraged. Obviously you are going to have to adjust the user interface of your applications, as it is a new display form factor, but that's not rocket science.

If you don't like the product, fine, say so. Just don't come touting some opinionated drivel that has no bearing on the facts of the matter.

I guess it remains to be seen who is the bigger man after bashing on others when you are in the wrong. Humble pie, anyone?

The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet's software is upgradeable and currently runs on the Linux-based Internet Tablet 2005 software edition. There is a planned launch next year of an operating system upgrade – the Internet Tablet 2006 software addition – that will support additional services, including Internet telephony (VoIP) and Instant Messaging.,,75023,00.html

Anybody remember Audrey? From 3com? Back in 2000 they released an internet browser (Granted it was not wireless) It was marketed nationwide for use as an "email machine" basically. People who didn't have a computer, could use this to send email to relatives, and surf the web. Oprah even gave one to each person in the audience!

Why did Audrey fail.

1.) Audrey required an ethernet connection to work. You had to have broadband. Older people "Grandma types" so to speek, bought these (Or relative bought it for them) And they were flooding the tech support line with calls about "How do I connect this to my AOL?" Umm.. mam you need broadband... Huge problem in 2000, because in 2000 broadband was still making it's way to many neighborhoods, and in many places, even if you wanted broadband, you couldn't get it.

2.) Functionality - It had very limited functionality. No Java. No Flash..... just HTML, thats it. Many web sites would show as an error.

Maybe this time somebody got it right?

This device could be used as a replacement for heavier Fujitsu devices or modern equivalent (I haven't been to an exchange for a couple of years), carried by hundreds of traders on the trading floors of several exchanges. The point of entry devices need to be lightweight, small, and nimble, it is better if it doesn't offer a full-size display because it isn't needed. A browser front-end means it doesn't have to be driven by Windows-specific tools. There would be concerns about connection reliability and secure operation.