Getting to know the new Linux-based Nokia 770 "handlet"

by Doc Searls

The long-awaited Nokia 770 Internet Tablet (I call it a "handlet" because it's, well, hand-sized) has been announced in Europe and is reportedly due for the rollout in the U.S. on Thursday. I've been playing with a pre-release one, and naturally have some questions for Nokia. But I'd rather have yours. So let's have 'em.


Let the record (that's this, right here) show that on Google a search for "Nokia 770" brings 845,000 results at 11:15pm PST, on November 7, 2005. Google's Blog Search finds 2520 results. Technorati finds 2797, none yet tagged . So I'm guessing this very post will be the first. (Gotta be the first at something, here.)

All those numbers are bound to go up.

Om Malik has been on the case. Here's his announcement from November 4. Here's a report on country-by-country availability, and prices in Euros and Pounds. Here's Linux Devices' report. And here's their anticipatory report from last Spring.

Engadget reports that a Doom Port runs on it.

There's already a cult site of sorts: Lots of links to follow from that site and the ones I've already mentioned (and have slighted by not including here).

My min-report: it's very cool.

Basically, it's a browser with lots of extra features. The wide 800 x 480 screen is pretty and very sharp. That resolution in a palm-sized device (5.5" x 3.1" x 0.7" with a 4.3" screen) means looking at itty-bitty (but very sharp) type, which is a strain for my old eyes. But fortunately the 770 comes with two ways (one involving a nice big rocker switch with a + and a -) to zoom the display, and another button for making the browser window full-screen.

Getting onto a Wi-Fi signal is simple. My 9-year old, who isn't a computer whiz (yet... he's more of a book reader/outdoor type), figured it out in about 20 seconds. Memory is small and solid-state. No hard drive, though there's a USB hookup (requiring external power for the drive). You can hook up a keyboard too. Or use a bluetooth keyboard. Bluetooth also bridges the unit to the cell system through a bluetooth-equipped cell phone. I have one of those, which I haven't tried yet.

Right now I'm listening to WUNC radio over the 770. I've also been listening to Radio Paradise and WNYC-FM. All sound terrific through powered speakers or headphones. In fact, the 770 has become my designated Internet Radio. Nice to finally have one. (It has its own speaker too, by the way.)

There's lots more to report; but I've told the Nokia folks I'd rather have you guys ask better questions than I would (since most of you are more technical than I am).

And maybe some of you readers in Europe have picked one of these buddies up already. If you have, let us know how you like it and how you're using it.

So, fire away...

[Addendum...] Just learned from Nokia that will be selling the 770 starting next week, at an anticipated retail price of $350. - ds