Internet tablets

An Internet tablet (IT) (see also Mobile Internet Device (MID)) is a small portable computer with a touch-sensitive screen interface and wireless Internet access. Nokia has produced a series of ITs with the Maemo operating system, starting with the Nokia 770 in 2005. It was followed by the Nokia N800 in early 2007. The updated Nokia N810 in 2008 was the first to include a GPS receiver and slide-out keyboard. The Nokia N900 was released at the end of 2009 and, with the addition of a multi-band GSM cell radio and a high-resolution camera, became a smart phone in addition to an IT. Difference between models can be seen in Comparison of tablet models

[edit] Nokia's 5 Steps

At the Web 2.0 Summit in October, 2007, Nokia Executive Vice President of Markets, Anssi Vanjoki, described the end game for the IT line. He described the N770 as the first step, the N800 from earlier in the year as the second step, and the N810 as the third step in a five step evolution toward a mobile Web 2.0 computer.

"The N810 is the first of these devices targeted at a 'normal' consumer group, beyond the geeks," Vanjoki added. "It's a fairly small entity of technology leaders, but it's a very important step No. 3 for us."[1]

The N900 has subsequently been described as the fourth step.

It can be assumed that the next IT and Maemo 6.0, based on Nokia's newly-acquired Qt application framework, will be the final evolution to the mainstream connected computer Nokia has planned for world domination.

[edit] What are Nokia internet tablets?

Nokia's Internet Tablets are about the size of a small paperback book, have a large high resolution touch-sensitive screen, and include a PC-style web browser. They can connect to the internet through Wi-Fi or through Bluetooth-compatible mobile phones (including all Nokia and many non-Nokia Bluetooth models).

The web browser used on the N800 and N810 uses the same core as the PC browser Firefox, and is compatible with Flash-based sites too. It can display most websites pretty much like a PC, and can even cope with more demanding sites such as YouTube and Google Documents. As well as a browser, the Tablets also provide access to services such as internet phone calls (including Skype and Google Talk), email, instant messaging, video chat, internet radio and RSS news feeds.

The Tablets all have dedicated buttons for zooming in and out, and for switching to a full-screen view, which are most commonly used by the web browser but may be used by any application.

From a technical point of view, the Tablets are pocket-sized computers running a special portable version of the Linux operating system. Many Linux applications are available for the tablets, almost all of which are free of charge.

[edit] What's the point of the Internet Tablets?

When Nokia launched its Internet Tablet range with the Nokia 770 back in 2005, one of the main questions that came up again and again was "Who would buy this?". It wasn't a phone, and it seemed an odd kind of PDA as it didn't contain much built-in software, though it did have by far the best web browser of any pocket-sized device.

The answer to the question above is: the Tablets provide PC-style access to the internet without having to sit in front of a PC.

The Tablets don't have the processing power or massive storage space of a current desktop or laptop PC, but the internet generally doesn't require that much processing power or storage space.

All websites, including complex ones such as Google Maps or Hotmail, aren't really running on your computer, they're actually running on the website's own computer which is possibly thousands of miles from you. When you use such websites, all you're actually doing is telling that remote computer what to do, and it sends back any information you've requested (for example a web page, or an e-mail, a map, a video clip etc). All the information you access on the internet is stored on remote computers, which is why you can access your Gmail inbox on any internet-connected computer just by entering a username and password.

In a nutshell, computing is moving off users' computers and onto the internet. PCs are increasingly becoming just a window onto the internet, and the Tablets are meant to provide a portable pocket-sized window.

The Tablets can do lots of non-internet things too, and the Maemo community which has built round them spends a lot of its time installing and using various applications and games. But portable access to popular internet services is what the Tablets were primarily designed for, and it's what they do best.

  1. Information Week