Archive for the 'hardware' Category

'RogerSWhen I first encountered the Nokia Internet Tablet, I thought, “Gosh what a great e-reader!” I've

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used each NIT as an e-reader but I learned what it's great at is, well, doing the internet thing. As its name suggests.

I thought GPS was a natural win. The big screen made maps easier to read than on most dedicated devices. Still, I used my tablet for email more often than GPS.

The voip calls with visuals blew me away. Except no one with a tethered connection bought into cam-calling.

The 770, the N800, the N810 — these were all complete computers! They meant I didn't have to lug around a laptop just in case I had real work to do. But I did most of my real work on a real computer and my wife never got the hang of using a NIT. My son's friends found the iPod Touch easier for surfing and he never cottoned to it.

With its touch screen, I didn't need a keyboard, but I liked the N810 keyboard. The keyboard made apps easier to port anyway.

And Flash! Once it became clear that “internet” meant surfing without sideways scrolling, email, and videos on YouTube, the internet tablet excelled at giving me the internet.

Well, excelled in lots of circumstances. Without a cell-plan data connection the walkaround web had no impact on NIT users. The Apple iPhone has a minuscule segment of the smartphone market but generates 50 percent of mobile web use. Apple's genius wasn't in the interface but in browbeating AT&T into affordable web access.

Does the Nokia Internet Tablet have a real future? We have a $200 netbook and it's easier for conference notetaking than an N810. I have an Amazon Kindle 2 and I can get books for it that aren't available for FBReader on my NITs. Half the cars have GPS built-in now anyway. So what's the sweet spot for the Internet Tablet?

Doh!. The internet, same as it's always been.

Except these days, “the internet” means Twitter, too. With multi-tasking so I can tweet full-screen and use multiple screens to follow several hundred people (in more than one group). With keyboard and touch-screen and audio and photos too. And from anywhere I might be, um-m, walking around.

I can tweet from a phone now, thank you very much, but making sure it fits is no piece of cake. Tweeting means editing down to 140 characters without having to struggle. And reading (following), tweeting and surfing simultaneously? Hey, where's my computer again? At least Maemo was built for us to do more than one thing at a time.

I expect there will be lots of cellphones released this year that have keyboards and screens of a satisfactory size and cameras. Just having good specs won't draw much attention. But if the next NIT can ace the Twitter test and fly the Flash flag, it'll be very much in demand.


If the next Internet Tablet indeed shrinks its screen size, how will it compare to the 3.5″ 960×480 Toshiba Biblio? It's

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cell phone with integrated e-book reader, a 3.5-inch LCD screen featuring a 960×480 resolution, 7GB internal memory, QWERTY keyboard and Opera Mobile 9.5 including AJAX support

Toshiba Biblio

For a long time, the NIT's stood out for having a bigger, higher-resolution screen while still being pocketsized. Now the Biblio will hold the title of best-resolution screen. In fact, the more I hear about the N900 and the longer it takes to arrive, I wonder what features it will have that even stand out against the increasingly more capable cellphones.

Image and description from MobileCrunch.


It seems like Intel is announcing later this week their own flavor of internet tablets they are calling MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices). From a presentation document (PDF) Intel has officially released, what we can gather are the following:

  • Foundation leverages Gnome Linux Desktop Technology, GTK+, DBUS, GConf
  • Intel developed user interface called ‘Master User Interface’
  • New Linux distro called RedFlag MIDINUX (v1.0 to be available sometime May)
  • Support of the Intel 915 chipsets
  • Finger-friendly
  • Browser, news reader, IM, VoIP
  • Media player, audio recorder, image viewer, camera
  • GPS, email, PDF reader, Bluetooth
  • 18 second boot time, 3.2 second resume time

From the screenshots, the MIDs look like Maemo with Intel’s customized front-end Master User Interface (MUI), finger freindly, application launcher.

It is not yet clear how far Maemo and RedFlag MIDINUX will inter-operate but you can be sure that both platforms will be covered in Internet Tablet Talk. :-)

A lot more images after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Intel Mobile Internet Devices Coming’

Nokia N800 navigation kit

One thing the Nokia 770 and N800 Internet Tablets have going for them is that they are the lowest-priced smallest-full-screened general-purpose portable devices around.

Oh, you know what I mean — they run a full OS with an 800-pixel-wide screen, they're large-pocket-sized and they cost half the price of a comparably capable UMPC.

So what does that mean for us internet tablet users?

Last year, I pointed out that portable, electronic chess-playing devices cost a hundred dollars or more. Putting Gnu Chess into the Nokia 770 and N800 Internet Tablets obviated the need to buy a specialized chess device.

And no chess device has the incredible 225-pixel-per-inch resolution of the 770 or N800.

Half a dozen specialized e-reading devices — the Iliad, the Sony Librie, and others* — offer e-reading off a carryaround screen, a need that FBReader and Plucker Viewer** meet wonderfully well on the Nokia tablets, at a lower price.

Nokia is preparing to sell a Navicore GPS kit for the N800*** — a Bluetooth GPS receiver, 2 GB worth of European maps, a 1 GB memory card, car charger — so that your internet tablet's large screen can be utilized very effectively in a situation where the visual really counts.

I know, do-it-yourself GPS-and-maps are already here. But already-packaged and Nokia-supported sounds attractive for the non-do-it-yourselfer. And I like the spoken directions — is that part of the GPS receiver? You want it, obviously, for driving use.

The GPS/Internet Tablet combo plays to the strengths of the N800 — there's nothing it can do here that you can't do also with a Bluetoothed notebook computer, but who considers that practical? Oh, I should add that the kit includes a car mount to hold the N800 in a position the driver can easily view. Probably not an option you can find for your notebook.

For us internet tablet users, the adaptability of the 770 and the N800 means our devices keep becoming more useful and more versatile and not less.
* Not to mention the original e-readers from the 20th century like the RocketeBook (still sold today, rebranded eBookwise) and the Softbook devices.

** And soon (hopefully) dotReader

*** I believe a kit for the 770 is already available from Navicore, sans card and possibly

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requiring GPS receiver and maps to be purchased separately


Andrew Barr has unearthed a quite interesting hidden feature on the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet – it has an FM radio chip built-in! The Maemo Repository even has on its certified software folder an app to run it via XTerm (fmradio_1.2.0_armel.deb).

CanolaIt is unknown yet why Nokia did not create a radio app when the N800 was launched but we can infer that it must either be a time issue or there might be problems with licensing its drivers.

So, when will Canola (pictured above) create an interface for this is seemingly getting

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ready, a radio interface already (as seen from Marcelo’s (aka handful) Flickr gallery).

Nokia, any other ‘hidden’ features we don’t know about?

Thanks to Jaffa and Andrew F.

EDIT: Jonathan Greene of atmaspheric | endeavors has already released a video of the FM radio in action:

Here’s my review of the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, the gosh-darned most revolutionary device around, smaller, lighter, better-screened, less-expensive and capable of see-me phone calls at voip prices — what do you think, will I like it?

But first, let’s get the formalities out of the way. I’m a fanboy of anyone who shows egregious genius. The makers/builders of the internet tablet twins qualify on several counts. My attitude shows in everything I write about the 770 and the N800. Secondly, speaking my opinion and wanting to further the development of the scene has qualified me to purchase both a 770 and an N800 at steep discount — 58 and 68 percent, respectively, as one of 500 participants in both the 770 and the N800 developer-device programs. (Of course, I know people who got them free!)

So, here’s my review:

The Nokia N800 Internet Tablet
came as a shock to observers of the web tablet scene. No one expected Nokia to expand its line and push the tablet envelope so soon and so far, considering that widespread distribution in the U.S. occurred only 12 months ago.

But the strength of the 770′s appeal apparently persuaded Nokia to capitalize on its first-to-market advantage and hug the internet tablet to its N-series, smart-phone bosom. (Hence the “N” prefixing the name.)

Anyone who uses one of these tablets soon experiences a glowing recognition that, holy cow!, the internet doesn’t have to be confined to a desk or laptop-friendly chair. Now you can surf standing up, walking around, riding the train and so on, just as you can use a phone untethered from a phone jack.

This comparison to the cellphone’s liberation of movement comes from Ari Jaaksi, the head of Nokia’s open-source software group and the internet tablet team specifically. And it’s critical to understanding why the N800 and the 770 don’t fit into any neat categories that other reviewers seem to want to force them into.

Nokia N800 is one-sixth the size of a UMPC

The Nokia N800 is one-sixth the size of a UMPC (graphic from sizeasy)
Oh, hey, this review is over 2000 words long! It won’t all fit on the front page!
Continue reading ‘My review of the Nokia N800 – when the walkaround web meets the see-me-anywhere call’

Thoughtfix posted a report yesterday at his blog that a 4GB SD card works fine in his Nokia N800 Internet Tablet.

And both jbj in a comment to that blog and a post here at ITT forums by flareup indicate they have two 4GB cards their devices. 8GB!

That's so much more than all the books I have. But if you want to carry around movies . . . then that's the kind of elbow room you want, I think.

— Roger Sperberg




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are some images I took of the new N800 Internet

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Tablet and several side-by-side pictures with the Nokia 770. I hope you all enjoy them. View 22 more images after the jump. Continue reading ‘The Nokia N800 Picture Review’

IMO, from the standpoint of the US market, I think the 770 looks like it could be reasonably successful. However, it’s hard to know what Nokia’s expectations of the 770s “re-release” are without knowing how much they have put into its development.

After looking into subnnotebook PCs, tablet PCs, UMPCs, Sony’s ultrasomething PC, and PDA communicators, IMO, the 770 still has no direct competitors. Unless I’m mistaken, any other way of surfing the web on an 800×480 or higher res screen always involves a full OS PC that costs around $1000 (UMPC) to $2000 (dualcor cPc). The Nokia 9300 phone is an exception, and costs $500 or so.

The new Sony micro PC comes closest to delivering similar functions as the 770 in a desirable form factor at a similar size. $1400 difference is a lot of money. However, the 770 is a more limited device, in a way that directly affects the desirability of the 770. So, for instance, many people are commited to other IM networks, and a lot of people don’t use gmail or other google services. As a networking device, if the 770 is going to take off in the consumer market, it will have to mean that whole networks of people will buy into the 770 and Google Talk.

The more I think about it, the more I think it could make sense for me to buy 770s for my friends and family – when I hit the lottery. But really, let’s say you want to stay in touch with someone, anywhere really, either in the same city or traveling around the technological (networked) world. The 770 is a pretty slick device that gets the job done with enough generic functions to make it a good individual tool as well.

I think the itT forum represents a mix of people, some of whom are learning how to customize the 770, and some who are using the built in functions and are more representative of the general consumer market. I’m in the latter camp. So I’d be curious what other people thought about this.

Not being British, I use the English (US) virtual keyboard, which puts a plus sign (+) and an equals sign (=) in the two spots next to the zero in the numeric keypad on the on-screen keyboard.

Choosing English (UK) as your first language in the Text Input control panel

Relaxed while you I Yoga viagra side effects clay yes evening longer actually.

gives you a different keyboard layout, with a hyphen (-) and an equals sign in those positions, as well as other changes with the keys shifted. And of course, other language settings have different characters for other keys as well.

Obviously the virtual keyboard simply uses different mappings for the different choices. I keep thinking I should be able to change the English (US) mapping to use a hyphen with the numeric keypad.

Others have explained that creating a .xmodmap file in /home/user/ lets you remap the keys on a Bluetooth keyboard.

Is there a similar solution to the virtual keyboard mapping? I really, really want that hyphen.

Update: Solution delivered! Timothy provides a detailed

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explanation in the comments to this blog. Thanks!

Second update: I’ve been practicing the alternative case gestures, as described in the Maemo Wiki page, HowToInputMethod770, in section 1.4.1 Gestures, and as MikeB reminded me in a comment to this blog item. When you press a key, wait a beat, then drag up, you get the shifted character. This works for =/- as well as for lower-case/upper-case letters and so on. I’ve been using it for parentheses and some caps, and it’s great — except that I am only succeeding about 80 percent of the time.

Apparently when the pressure of my stylus is deemed inconsistent, the virtual keyboard interprets my “gesture” as a double-tap and give me two lower-case letters. Meanwhile I’m still pressing and moving up and then double-deleting and starting over, and in those cases it’s not faster. I’ll see if I get better at this or if the keyboard/touchscreen is just too finicky.



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