The future is coming ready-or-not

Nokia 770 raw but indispensable

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The Nokia 770 device needs work, but it’s indispensable to my daily routine! Nokia developed the Internet tablet as a new category for mobile use of the Internet. Viewing web pages, reading e-mail and news (RSS) through Wi-Fi. It competes against the Origami, UMPC concept, but is cheaper and available. Yesterday, they pre-announced that the next release will include Google Talk providing instant messaging and VOIP.

Plenty of reviews cover the device, so I’ll focus on how I’m using it. As with any new platform it has warts but overall I find the device useful and usable. It’s designed for mobile usage of the Internet, whether from the sofa or at a wifi hotspot. Think of it as a portable TV for the Internet.

I don’t use most of the applications. The e-mail client is poor, it’s unusable for monitoring lists. And I’m not really into media. So I don’t use the Internet radio, because I haven’t bothered to find any stations: there should be a default list like Apple’s iTunes radio section.

But, I use the device every morning to catch-up with RSS. You can read news feeds off-line so I can take advantage of it on my commute or sitting in the local coffee shop. If I see anything interesting I can e-mail it to myself for further investigation. This completely transforms dead travel time enabling me to do something useful. Automatic podcasts downloads might be a nice addition but I’m not sure I’d use it.

I also use it to access Webmail, particularly if I’m on holiday so that I don’t need my laptop. The notepad application is limited but usable for quickly jotting stuff down: I’ve often carried around a notepad for this so perhaps I’m just addicted to notes. Hopefully, a new full screen keyboard will make this easier.

The biggest challenge to Nokia’s ubiquitous Internet vision is the unreasonable prices of Wi-Fi and mobile phone data packages. Most wifi providers charge about 12 GBP per month and you often can’t roam networks. I would probably have to sign-up for more than one package if I wanted to use wifi at Cafe Nero and Starbucks! As for mobile data-plans, these are even more expensive and have limited data transfer. Perhaps IM and VOIP will improve the value proposition, but at the moment it isn’t compelling.

What do you think, will the Internet tablet concept catch-on? How do you use your Nokia 770? And do you think VOIP/IM will increase Wi-Fi take-up?

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Written by Steve George

May 17, 2006 at 14:48

Posted in Internet, Nokia 770, VoIP

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