Sunday, February 3, 2008
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to access the internet on a small, light-weight hand-held device. "Wait a minute, you say. That's exactly what I do with my cellphone or with my wifi-enabled pda.
I'm not saying that this is new concept, but wouldn't it be nice to have a handheld device that is simple to schlep (this is a techno-geek term meaning to wear clothes with many pockets while walking around. Each pocket is filled with multiple electronic devices.) around and can view a web page in extreme clarity.
Well, wait no more. The Nokia N800 Internet Tablet may be just the ticket. Actually, I have been using one for the past six months but have only gotten around to discussing it now. The N800 is a Linux-based hand-held tablet computer designed to access the internet. It connects to the wide world web via 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi or by linking to a bluetooth cell phone and dialing into the internet.
The 4.1 inch 800x480 screen is extremely sharp. Web pages or videos played on the tablet are very clear and easily read. Further, there are side-mounted controls to change the zoom mode. You control the device via a touch screen. A comfortable stylus allows for pin-point accuracy; though, at times I use one of my less than thin fingers as a substitute stylus. It comes with 128mb of ram. There are 2 slots for SD cards which can hold up to 8 gb each. Like many other linux devices, its noteworthy for its speed and stability. In fact, its faster than its predecessor - the N770.
It can be used to play music either through the built-in speakers or supplied earphones. The latest version of the Tablet's OS - OS2008 is the best one yet. It only took a few minutes to upgrade the OS to this visually pleasing interface. You can also use the device as an FM radio, portable device vice to make Skype calls with the built-in webcam, or hand-held email device.
"All Right, you say. What's wrong with it". If you're looking for a "killer app" rather than "killer function" then you've found it's Achilles heel. Its linux software and apps are part of the Maemo Project which is an open-source platform for Nokia Internet Tablets. Thus far, you can't sync your calendar nor contact information. E-mail apps will only support POP3 and IMAP accounts, but not Exchange. I'm hoping that software developers will eventually correct this shortcoming. Especially, since the the next generation of the device, the N810, with a slide-out keyboard has been released.
The N800 is available from on-line retailers such as Amazon.com for approximately $250.