Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Trying Out the Nokia 810

I feel like I'm starting to run some kind of technology smuggling operation here... I've got Wendy's XO sitting in a box, waiting for her to give me mailing instructions to Australia. Yesterday a Nokia 810 Internet Tablet arrived for a Lithuanian friend who gets a developer's discount for working on some of the open source software that can be used on the device, but apparently the discount can only be used from the US, or something. Anyhow, I've temporarily got a N810 which he's agreed to let me try out a bit.

I saw one of the first 770 tablets at a party at Mako's, I guess back in 2005, and thought, "This might be usable in a few more generations." Nokia seems to be taking an extreme slow-walk to this product line, it feels like they've been doing just enough R&D to feel out the product space without going all out (a la the iPhone). The N810 gives one a polished web browsing experience, but still seems a bit rough and underdeveloped in other areas. Given the importance of web browsing, this is not a bad strategy. If nothing else, the N810 proves that the XO has enough horse power to provide an acceptable browsing experience with a Gecko-based browser.

The N810 would look a lot better if the iPhone didn't exist, in particular, the N810's browsing experience would benefit from multi-touch scrolling. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for them to overcome the technical and patent (I imagine) hurdles and implement that. It is frustrating that that the N810 and the XO share so much underlying architecture (Linux, GTK, Python) but that the XO hasn't been able to benefit more from what's been accomplished on the N810.

Finally, my mother is shopping for a small internet device. She's a Mac user, so I think she'd be happier with an iPod Touch than a N810, but I think she might like an Eee PC most of all. It would be hard to pull the trigger without spending more time with an Eee PC, though.

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