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RogerS's Avatar
Posts: 772 | Thanked: 183 times | Joined on Jul 2005 @ Montclair, NJ (NYC suburbs)
#1
Three years ago, the Nokia Internet Tablet was revolutionary: it had a screen wide enough to display a web page, it cost way less than you'd expect, it was meant for carrying around in a way that no laptop/notebook ever had been. WiFi was engendering the walkaround web.

Add a webcam, GPS, keyboard; make it faster, more reliable; keep churning away at the migration of free-libre-open-source software. Three years down the road and the tablet team has not stopped pushing the envelope.

But is Nokia's tablet revolutionary anymore?

My son's friend does as much or more with his iPod Touch (16GB model for $269.99) [1] — even though it is more restricted in what it can do.

Both Apple's and Nokia's tablets forgo disk drives, emphasizing the screen. But the the iPod touch and its progenitor, the iPhone, instantly persuade you that a keyboard is unneeded and unnecessary. The media aspects — video and YouTube video, music and accessing music via the web — push other considerations aside: the idea that the lame telco phones suffice for the walkaround web couldn't be more effectively (or contemptuously) dismissed.

Contrary to the optimistic predictions, ubiquitous and free WiFi hasn't materialized yet. For now, the walkaround web depends on a tablet screen and a data-cellphone connection. That's where the iPhone is situated, not the Internet Tablet, and by its sales figures you have to concede that bundling the connection with the screen appeals to more people than separating them.

I'm reminded of the quote from a French revolutionary leader [2], "There go the people. I must follow them. I am their leader."

Um, the people are heading off in another direction.

Are we going with them? And if so, what is necessary for the Nokia Internet Tablet to remain in the forefront of the tablet revolution?

Dropping the price would keep it there. (For a while, anyway.) Some people have argued the interface ought to abandon the computer GUI heritage and adopt a big-graphic Apple-like approach. You know you'll see phone companies offering some Apple-influenced devices soon.

And there's the phone.

Some while back, I wished for an impossibility — a slot in the NIT for a SIM card, so it could connect via a telco data plan. Why not just make it a phone then, a la the iPhone? I don't know. I guess I want it to be a tablet, not a phone, unless I'm using a voip connection.

Subconciously, I must have accepted the argument that Nokia is approaching the iPhone feature-set from two directions — smart phones that would become more and more computery, and the Internet Tablet, which would be always a complement to (and not a replacement for) a cellphone.

But without ubiquitous online access, the NIT just gives us the semi-revolutionary walk-around-the-office-or-home-only web. So, one way or another, that has to change. Maybe it means we'll see a phone added to the NIT. Or phone/NIT bundles from the carriers. Or WiFi-hotspot/NIT bundles.

Unless it gives me the web everywhere, the NIT falls into the merely convenient and not revolutionary category.

Of course, there is one way we're still participating in revolutionary activity. That's via the FLOSS/Linux connection. The keyboard on the N810 may be a step backward from the perspective of the interface, but it greatly simplifies using a ported Linux-desktop app.

And that's a big deal. Partly because it ensures an inexhaustible supply of software. And underlying the web and our incarnation of it, the walkaround web, is our understanding that it has flourished because of the open nature of that earlier revolution.

Whereas "open" is not a word that appears in frequent proximity of "Apple." The iPhone is engendering what we might term a Disney revolution, one in which the benefits accrue mostly to one company (which provides more entertaining or novel experiences to us customers than we got before).

When you see Nokia giving its $800-million investment in Symbion to an open-source foundation, you know that it is acting in its own financial interests. Nothing else could explain such sums. The tablet/phone OS field is weighted in favor of Apple and Microsoft and Google, and so Nokia is looking around to see who its friends are.

That would be us.

We're Nokia's friends. Us, the Maemo community, the FLOSS community, the Linux believers.

The revolutionary mob, as it were.

I believe the Nokia tablet is going to thrive in direct proportion to our community's success in promoting/extending/liberating Maemo. Because Nokia may not ever release a $100 NIT with a SIM-card slot, but some enterprising Asian manufacturer likely will. And running Maemo on all those Microsoft-spec'd UMPC's is going to bring even more people into the fold who are interested in tablet-sized apps working better. Every improvement developed on the outside will benefit the Internet Tablets that Nokia makes, and a larger pool of tablet users (especially Maemo tablet users) means a larger potential audience for Nokia to sell to.

And maybe the N810's built-in GPS and cam calling will finally get the attention it deserves.

So I'm looking forward to the meeting in Berlin next month. Will it be a revolutionary congress that dissolves into infighting and factions? Or one that presses forward to spread the revolution?

__________
[1] 16GB refurbished at buy.com, shipping included.

[2] This was said by Alexandre Ledru-Rollin during the 1848 revolution, and not the 1789 revolution.
Read the full article.

Last edited by RogerS; 2008-08-28 at 21:08.
 

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#2
I've had a NIT810 for several months now and I think it's an amazing device BUT -

Phones are going to get larger and threaten the utility of the NIT - especially when Skyfire becomes generally available.

AND

Netbooks are about the same price as a NIT and provide a better hardware spec (at the expense of some of the mobility/convenience of the NIT).

I am already thinking of getting a Netbook or a Nokia N96 (hopefully with Skyfire in the near future).

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#3
Interesting, you see the tech as being the revolution. I see it as only a component in it. The revolution is behaviors, and specifically what consitutes:

- business to consumer relations
- innovations from community development versus closed-shops
- the browser as a platform
- mobile as layer to lifestyle instead of an appendage to it

The IT and FLOSS communities have shown how Nokia wants to relate to businesses and customers. Its changed things for them, and given other companies a look at how b2b, c2b, etc. processes need to adapt.

Innovations can come fast and furious from community involvement, but there needs to be education and share understanding of business processes on both sides to make point #2 work best. Nokia is also in front here, partially becuase of the work with FLOSS, the IT, and other acquisitions.

The IT browser needs work to do what the aim of the platform is. It will get there, but not sure that it will be recognizable when it does as a browser as much as it will be a component, probably the only one most users see, when it does get there.

Nokia has been pitching mobile as a part of life. See the Morph Concept as merly a stated example of where the IT is going. Its not only a matter of passive communition, but of active living and sustaining oneself with technology for personal and community gain.

The IT is a very small slice of the picture of what Nokia is trying to do; and I've already wrote on this once today, its not a small flip that is happening and what we see here with the IT is only another spoke in what we all should have realized years ago.
 

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Traecer's Avatar
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#4
Given that 2 Nokia people in the past week (one was just an employee at a Nokia store) told me without any prompting that the next tablet will have a phone module in it, I think the failure of ubquitious WiFi will not be a limitation to the tablets going forward.
 
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#5
Originally Posted by blender1968 View Post
...
Phones are going to get larger and threaten the utility of the NIT - especially when Skyfire becomes generally available.
...
Hm, I heard all the skyfire buzz and I'm a bit skeptical:

First: the s60 browser is good enough at displaying realistic webpages on small screens. No matter how good the browser is good comon sense and Newtonian physics dictates that the much buzzed around "desktop like browsing experience" can only happen on a ... desktop. There's no way in h311 you can fit desktop experience in a 2.4'' screen. Even if you make that screen VGA (like some asked for that E71 - but that's another stupidity) you will get very small fonts and yes, it will look like your browser but from 20 meters away.
Second: I think the days of Blazer and the like are over - at least on smartphones. Heck I don't trust me with my passwords, why would I want to browse using some unknown and out of control proxy servers.

Sorry for getting way ot but I get puzzled on why would someone build a business and everyone (and their cats) would blog about how you can stuck 17-22 inches worth of webpage in 2.4'' and still be the same great experience.
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GeneralAntilles's Avatar
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#6
Originally Posted by Traecer View Post
Given that 2 Nokia people in the past week (one was just an employee at a Nokia store) told me without any prompting that the next tablet will have a phone module in it, I think the failure of ubquitious WiFi will not be a limitation to the tablets going forward.
Well, uh, duh. . . . Since the next tablet is the N810W and it has a WiMAX radio in it.
 

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Texrat's Avatar
Posts: 11,700 | Thanked: 10,015 times | Joined on Jun 2006 @ North Texas, USA
#7
The tablets explored a territory that was still mostly virgin. They drove a great deal of discussion over exactly what is needed in this new space. Nokia is definitely absorbing and processing the feedback. Our guys would be foolish not to.

It's a mistake to assume that the N810 represents some sort of pinnacle (or dead-end, depending on your frame of mind)... yet I see such comments made constantly. As if the mere introduction of a competitive product wil automatically kill Nokia's efforts. While this can be true, it does not neccesarily need to be.

Nokia can afford to be patient and progress deliberately here. Companies like Apple could not. They "bet the farm" on their novel products. As we have discussed ad nauseum, that makes a HUGE difference in how a given company approaches this market.

Just wait.
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#8
Originally Posted by blender1968 View Post
Netbooks are about the same price as a NIT and provide a better hardware spec (at the expense of some of the mobility/convenience of the NIT).
You seem to be downplaying the value of that mobility. To many, it is worth the cost. So that if the Nxxx tablet and a given low-cost laptop cost the same (or even less for the laptop), and the laptop has more features and capability, someone will STILL purchase the Nxxx tablet because that mobility factor has value.

Heck, I have and use both. They are not mutually exclusive. There is certainly overlap, but that should not completely preclude ownership of both. The differences are the motivating factor(s) that drive purchase.
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Last edited by Texrat; 2008-08-28 at 20:31.
 

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#9
Originally Posted by Texrat View Post
Just wait.
What, no "hee hee hee"? Are you unwell?
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#10
Originally Posted by sjgadsby View Post
What, no "hee hee hee"? Are you unwell?
Used up my weekly quota in the other thread.
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