I’ve written before about the *nix vs. iPhone approach to mobile web fun. Circumstances conspired to keep me away from Apple’s little bar of techno-groove; I’ve been keeping my eye on the small internet-capable convergence device space for a year now. There are currently a bunch of choices: iPhone, Asus Eee, and 2 internet tablets (their term) from Nokia – the N800 and N810. Although I still covet an iPhone, I wanted to try an open, more modular platform – I may end up drinking the Apple kool-aid in 6 months or a year – who knows. The three open devices provide a nice spectrum – the N800 on the info consumption side to the Eee on the info production side, with the N810 in the middle. I wanted Bluetooth, so I could tether to my cell and get on the net wherever I got cell signal (not an out-of-the-box option w/ the Eee) and I wanted the device to be pocketable. Survey says? N810 – especially since there was a really good deal available a week ago (someone trying to make February numbers?). Some early impressions:
- I knew this going in, but it bears repeating – not a PDA. This little box is fully into the ‘the network is the computer’ space. There is a local email app – I haven’t tried it yet.
- Some nice subtle touches. When you unplug the tablet from the charger (standard Nokia charger and replaceable battery BTW) a message box pops up momentarily, suggesting you unplug the wall wart as well. If you’ve locked the screen, sliding the keyboard out automatically unlocks, and if the keyboard is out for a short time (don’t know what a ‘short time’ is yet), the screen will re-lock when the keyboard is stowed.
- You can install Doom.
- As delivered, the N810 doesn’t have much local storage. I’m waiting for 8 Gb mini-SDHC cards to come back into stock at my favorite supplier. In the meantime, I’m experimenting with universal plug-n-pray media streaming from my desktop (using TVersity) to the media player on the n810. Audio seems to work nicely – I can stream files that are FLAC-encoded, and since it’s decoded on the desktop, no fuss or muss at the Nokia end. Video is – no surprise- more problematic. I’ve streamed some video files successfully and failed with others – time to learn about TVersity and how it does its on-the-fly transcoding.
- The ease of connection has come in handy already. I was in Best Buy yesterday, burning a gift certificate on upgraded ear-buds. Shocking, I know, but the salesperson I snagged could not answer any of my questions about my first choice. Wait – I have the internet available! Less than 5 minutes later – questions answered. While I’m on the subject of customer service – when I added a data plan to my cell phone service, I wanted to get my iBook connected (via cellphone/bluetooth) to the net as a proof of concept. AT&T tech support – worse than useless (no information is better than incorrect information) – a quick google, and I was connected (should have done that first, but the iBook told me to get log on info from the cell carrier).
- Thanks – again – to Lex10 for the wallpaper I’m using on the N810.
Some shots of the N810 doing various things: