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Archive for the 'walkaround web' Category



'Nokia

In Las Vegas, where the CTIA Wireless 2008 show is going on, Nokia officially announced its N810 Internet Tablet WiMAX Edition today at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

Because WiMAX signals extend 2-3 miles — as compared to a few hundred feet for WiFi — WiMAX networks enable broadband internet connections (2-4 Mbps, with peaks of up to 10 Mbps) for users on the move.

The device will be “available in the United States during the summer of 2008 in areas where WiMAX connectivity is available.”

Nokia also announced an

upgraded OS2008 [that] introduces useful new features to the platform, including an enhanced e-mail client, support for Chinese character rendering in the browser and RSS feeds and Seamless Software Update functionality to eliminate manual software updates, making periodic updates of the operating system quick and easy. While standard on the Nokia N810 WiMAX Edition, current owners of Nokia N810 and N800 Internet Tablets with earlier operating systems will be able to upgrade their device to the revised operating system for free during the second quarter of 2008.

I'm not sure if this adds anything to what we already knew about the next OS release, but since Reggie is having all the fun in Las Vegas, I'm reduced to reading and re-reading the press release.

Here's the obligatory statement of significance by an upper-level executive:

“By delivering the kind of open Internet experience that consumers previously only expected on a desktop PC, the Nokia N810 WiMAX Edition is a compelling example of how next generation broadband wireless technology will not only change the way people think about the Internet, it will change the very nature of the Internet itself,” said Ari Virtanen, Vice President of Convergence Products for Nokia.

“Much in the way that the evolution of the fixed Internet from dial-up to broadband enabled a host of new Internet services and changed people’s expectations of what an Internet experience should be, the transition to a broadband Internet experience set free from the constraints of a fixed network will spark the next wave of new mobile Internet services, and will forever change the perception of what the Internet can be.”

I think Ari means the walkaround web is a totally new experience and the new tablet will be the first to deliver it in this form. No argument there. (I guess if you're in one of those WiMAX locations, we're talking about the drive-around web, actually.)

Just so there's no confusion about this new tablet: When not in range of a WiMAX network, the Nokia N810 WE can also “access the Internet over Wi-Fi or via conventional cellular data networks by pairing to a compatible mobile phone via Bluetooth technology.”

Nokia's press release ambiguously notes that “a number of VoIP and IM clients are available, including Skype, Google Talk, and Gizmo5, which can also take advantage of the Nokia N810 WiMAX Edition’s built-in web cam for video calls.” Whether this statement includes Skype among the VoIP clients that can make cam calls depends upon how you parse the sentence. Clarification is already being sought on this.

Added later:

Where will you find WiMAX? Alex Vorn at World of Gadgets cites these locales in 2008: Baltimore, Washington DC and Chicago (with Boston “soon” and New York after that).

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Engadget is running their annual Engadget awards and the Nokia N810 is nominated in the 2007 Handheld of the Year category. The Nokia N810 is currently trailing the Amazon Kindle by about 300 votes (as of writing).

You have until March 1st to vote for the N810 and your other favorite gadgets.

Vote now.

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Despite the iPhone's tremendous hype, we all know that it's a small, small segment of the total mobile-phone market. According to IDC, a market research firm, iPhones comprise just 2 percent of smartphones — compared to the 63 percent powered by Symbian*.

Interesting then that in December, Google reported, it had more internet traffic from iPhones than any other mobile device.

Think this says something about how useful people find the walkaround web? Or why AT&T is giving free access to 10,000 WiFi hotspots to its broadband subscribers?

And why the Internet Tablet has an 800-pixel-wide screen but still fits in your pocket and weighs only 8 ounces?

Ari Jaaksi pointed out more than two years ago that with the arrival of the Internet Tablet the web wasn't stationary any more. People with laptops aren't walking around checking the web. And surfing the internet on a cellphone screen is just painful. Those were never harbingers of a web paradigm shift.

But we users of the Nokia 770, N800 and N810 know the truth of Ari's statement. And iPhone users are learning it too. We need the web, wherever we are — not every second of the day, but at any moment of our day.

And a large screen, light weight and small size are absolute requirements.

I think we're going to see a much wider commercial acceptance of this “useless” niche this year.

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* Nokia owns 47.9 percent of Symbian.

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My good pal, Matt Miller, The Moble Gadgeteer blogger over at ZDNet, gives a good demo and detailed instructions on how to tether the Nokia N95's integrated GPS and modem with the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, all via Bluetooth.

Basically, you need the Symarctic ExtGPS (beta) app installed on the N95 which will allow other

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devices (mac, pc, linux included) to use its GPS, a data plan to have the N95 connect to the internet, and Maemo Mapper. What is interesting is that both the GPS and modem are working together via one (or maybe two) Bluetooth connection(s) to the N800.

Thanks Matt!

Read Matt's full writeup.

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Amazon.com just released its Holiday Best Sellers list (from Nov. 15 through Dec. 19 Based on Units Ordered) and on the personal computer category, the Nokia Internet Tablet makes it to the Top 3 list:

In PCs, the top sellers included Apple MacBook, Nokia Internet Tablet PC and HP Pavilion Entertainment Notebook PC.

Check out the current prizes of the Nokia Internet Tablets at Amazon.com.

The iPhone is Time magazine's number one entry in its Top 10 Gadgets list (50 Top 10 lists of 2007 too).

Me, I prefer the Nokia Internet Tablet, but the iPhone is an understandable first choice.*

Neither the Nokia N810 (almost, sorta, but not really released) and the N800 (a big surprise way back in January!) merited a place on the list.

I've said it before: With Skype cam calls, the internet tablet is a mind-blowing culture-changing device. (It would easily supplant the cordless Skype phone that's number three on this list.) Think about it: walkaround visuals on a voip call. Not tethered to a computer, not paying exorbitant fees, not having to type a la IM, incredible display not a tiny phone screen, not restricted to just what the vendor will let you do. Like I said, mind-blowing.

Until then, it's all potential, no paradigm-shift.

Knock, knock! eBay, Nokia, anybody there? What's holding you up? Light the fuse, please.

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* This is what's known in the writing business as understatement, a first-cousin of irony. I don't think anyone stood in line for hours to be first to buy gadgets two through ten.

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The New York Times has a GPS focus in its Circuits section today — ten articles about GPS devices, free-standing and built-in, from accessories (solar panel charger) to innovative use (pet locator) to data-tracker (think: where did I take this photo?).

Hundreds of column inches. Not a word on the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet, by the way.

One article describes one family's use of GPS in cellphones to help monitor their children's whereabouts. It mostly describes Sprint's $10 monthly Family Locator service (Verizon has something similar).

When Mr. Gray uses the service, he turns to his computer and clicks on the Sprint Web site to locate either child. “Within about a minute, an icon appears on a map showing where the phone is,” he said.

The story goes on to quote Charles S.

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Golvin, an analyst with Forrester Research. The location services complement “one of the main motivations adults have in giving their children cellphones — to get in touch with them in an emergency.” And GPS ties into this because, he notes, “it's a comfort to have a bit more information.”

Parents may find an N810 a better present, if only because it combines location and internet calling with a full range of computing. And it seems to me that cam calls are bound to be more frequent and more reassuring on an internet tablet than using the costly telecom alternative.

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I missed seeing an item in the New York Times technology blog, Bits, that Saul Hansell wrote. On October 10, he noted a report had come out from Telephia that said that “location-based services” accounted for half of all the money spent on cellphone applications.*

Half!

Hansell’s irritation centered around the fact that all this money is being spent on services like Verizon’s VZ Navigator, which “display maps and driving directions using GPS hardware built into phones. Verizon charges $9.99 a month or $2.99 a day for the service.”

“I already own” the phone and the GPS in it, Hansell points out, yet he and any Verizon customer still has to pay extra to use it.

Of course that rubs him the wrong way. And of course it’s great that a device like the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet takes the opposite approach.

But the subtext of Telephia’s report seems to me to be that people really like and use location-based services. That’s why half the money being spent on apps went for them. That seems to me to be a pretty big arrow pointing in the direction Nokia (or any company in the walkaround web arena) would want to be headed.

It’s nice to have some facts to flesh out the intuitions now and then.

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* in the U.S. in the second quarter of this year

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Nokia has filed a US patent application (dated November 8, 2007) on a device which seems to resemble an Internet Tablet. While it is still very early to know if this is a Symbian OS or Maemo-based device, a device with its look and features like a camera and a touch screen, as stated in the patent application, will almost surely belong to the Nokia N-series group of mobile devices.

I wonder if this will ever get approved, considering that it basically has the looks of the Sidekick, the HTC TyTN II (AT&T Tilt), and

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the HTC Advantage.

[Thanks daveb70!]

The New York Times (among many, I'm sure) is reporting Google's “plunge” into the wireless world.Google, the Times says, is

leading a broad industry alliance to transform mobile phones into powerful mobile computers that could accelerate the convergence of computing and communications.

The Times points out:

Users would have the ability to load up their phones with new features and third-party programs.

“Today the Internet experience on hand-held devices is not optimized,” said Peter Chou, chief executive of HTC, one of the largest makers of smartphones. “The whole idea is to optimize the Internet experience.”

Of course, that's the same thing we've been saying for a couple years about phones and tablets, from the perspective of the tablet/internet end.

And, interestingly to us tableteering types, Google's Andy Rubin gives as an example of the incredible new things that will be available, “[T]he company’s StreetView feature of Google Maps could easily be coupled — mashed up, in technology speak — with another service listing the current geographical location of friends.”

Let me point out that Thoughtfix

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was there first. And since we have the pieces in place with the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet's GPS capability, this application awaits only a developer to realize it and not new hardware utilizing Google's new software.

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Added later: Here's the AP take on this news, as reported in the Washington Post.

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