Nokia Authors Linux-Based Internet Tablet

Nokia yesterday announced that it has started selling the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. The pocket-sized device is Nokia’s first Linux-based terminal product and is dedicated to Internet browsing and e-mail communications over WiFi.

“We are very excited to start shipments of our first Nokia Internet Tablet device,” said Janne Jormalainen, vice president of Convergence Products, Multimedia at Nokia. “Since announced back in May we have seen huge interest in this device, particularly from the open source community.”

Tablet Browsing

The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet features high-resolution widescreen display with zoom and on-screen keyboard for viewing online content.

The device also features a Web browser with flash player, e-mail client, Internet radio, news reader, file manager and media players to enable Internet services to move with users.

Aside from WiFi, the device can also connect to the Internet utilizing Bluetooth wireless technology via a compatible mobile device.

Jupiter Research Analyst Michael Gartenberg told LinuxInsider that in the past it has been a challenge for companies that have attempted to push Internet appliances to the masses. But, he added, things are changing.

“We are looking at a different world now,” Gartenberg said. “There are more people using e-mail and they want to be able to check things online, whether they are looking up a phone number or a place to eat. It’s not like the past.”

Open Development

The Nokia 770 runs on Linux-based Nokia Internet Tablet 2005 software edition based on desktop Linux and Open Source technologies.

Nokia said Maemo.org provides open-source developers and innovation houses with the tools and opportunities to collaborate with the company on future devices and open-source releases in the Internet Tablet category. Gartenberg said Maemo.org makes it fairly extensible for developers to build on top of it as an applications framework.

“It will be interesting to see, both in the U.S. and in Europe, how this type of device translates to consumers,” Gartenberg said. “Are consumers looking for this type of small tablet-based Internet experience while they might be watching TV and wanting to check their e-mail or browse the Web?”

Nothing Quite Like It

One thing is certain. Gartenberg said there is really nothing quite like it on the market. If the Nokia 770 has any competition, he said it is from other tablet PCs or perhaps connected PDAs like the PalmTX. But Nokia plans to continue down the Linux-based wireless tablet path.

“This is the first step to creating an open-source product for broadband and Internet services,” Jormalainen said. “We will be launching regular software updates. During the first half of year 2006 we will launch the next operating system upgrade to support more presence based functionalities such as VoIP and Instant Messaging.”

In addition to select retail outlets, the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet is available for purchase online through www.nokia.com at an estimated sales price of approximately 350 euros including taxes. The www.nokiausa.com sales channel is expected to open one week later.

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