Wednesday 25 May 2005

Nokia 770 Platform Sucks

[Updated: clarified my position on the lack of cellular connectivity.]

Today at the LinuxWorld Summit in New York, Nokia announced its new tablet PC platform, the Nokia 770. It's a pocket-sized handheld tablet computer, with WiFi and Bluetooth support, running on Linux. Here's a photo.

There are several things about it that Aren't Quite Right.

  • Historically, Nokia hasn't been successful selling devices with no carrier relationship. Nokia operates best when the purchase price of its devices are being subsidised by a phone contract.
  • There's no cellular modem. It relies on an additional Bluetooth mobile phone. Which is fine for a home-based device, except...
  • It's being positioned as a device for the home, but it's surprisingly small for a home device. It's not much bigger than a remote control. A home device ought to be bigger, say 10"/25cm diagonal.
  • Conversely, it's not being positioned as a nomadic device. Its size implies that it's much more suited to being a highly-featured laptop replacement.
  • The performance is very poor. The demo devices were extremely slow.

Shame. Much of the industrial design is very compelling. It's been let down by sucky execution.

But don't stop there. Read more thoughts on the 770 in the next post.

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Anonymous said...

Maybe the worst review I have ever read in my whole life. Please do not put links to your blog on slashdot anymore.

Richi Jennings said...

Thanks for your input, Mr/Ms Anonymous. Not really what I'd call constructive feedback, but it's the thought that counts, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I tend to agree with previous Mr. Anonymous.

Check your facts next time around: you totally missed the positioning, price point, feature set, usage model and revolutionary openness of the device.

Otherwise good job. Certainly worth a /. link.

But hey, it is your blog and your reputation on the line, so what do I care...

Richi Jennings said...

Resonses to comments and more thoughts in the next post.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with a lot of what you said (not having seen the device, though)

1. no cell modem
It's primary mode of use is 'on lap', 'wifi-connected'. Makes sense to be economical (weight, power consumption and cost wise) and leave the phone to an outside device.

2. Nokia not successful selling devices with no carrier relationship
Not true around here: subsidising is illegal here, and Nokia is still the biggest name. I live in Finland, so we might be biased here, though :)

3. A home device ought to be bigger, say 10"/25cm diagonal.
So you say - I disagree: I've got laptops, and I don't have them near the sofa, cause they're too big. A 'sofa-device' has to be light enough to be held by one hand.

4. Its size implies that it's much more suited to being a highly-featured laptop replacement.
Nokia 770: 141 x 79 x 19 mm
HP iPAQ: 114 x 71 x 16 mm
Sony Vaio 272 x 203 x 33 mm
Its' very close to the iPAQ... I don't understand what you are talking about.

To sum up I'm not really buying your analysis here, but your comment about performance is scary -- A device like this should not be sluggish... Care to explain a little more (like what was slow: startup, starting programs, using programs, screen update, ... )?

Thanks for the (p)review.

Anonymous said...

I'm a frequent early-adopting geek so this is right up my street :-) Right now it's a choice between a PSP with the later firmware + keyboard and the 770. If it's down to price I might well have to toss a coin. I really need something I can browse the web on, plus email. If that's done thru my phone then that's no problem as at least I could roam with it when I visit faraway places. The ultimate deciding factor for me will be the accessibility of the Linux platform, and if I can develop for this then I know what my choice will be.. I just hope they don't spoil it and lock the OS up tight in ROM.. Now that would be silly.. If you could elaborate on what the issues were, then that would be very useful !

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