Don’t Cross Out The N810 Tablet Part 1

NokiaPalm Discovery would like to extend a BIG THANKS to Donna and Richard for providing a trial product for this review.

As with many of my device reviews, this review will be broken down into several parts to make it easier to read.

In Part 1, I will be going over the basics and specs of the device

In Part 2, I will be providing the video reviews that go over the platform and software

In Part 3, I will provide my observations and final thoughts.

I hope you enjoy this review as much as I enjoyed reviewing it!

Nokia N810 Internet TabletToday is quite an extraordinary day, well, at least for me, since I am embarking on reviewing a totally new device that does not run on the Palm OS platform, nor the Windows Mobile platform and doesn’t have the Palm name behind it. I am hoping that this will be the beginning of something very exciting as I begin reviewing Nokia devices. YES! You’ve read it right! I will be reviewing a Nokia device today, although today is also a bit different as the device I’m reviewing doesn’t run on the typical Symbian platform for Nokia devices but on a Linux based Maemo OS2008 platform for the Internet Tablets. Yes. Today I will be reviewing Nokia’s Internet Tablet device, the N810.

Please keep in mind that I will be reviewing the Wi-Fi edition and not the newer and sexier WiMAX version. And that’s good since I don’t have WiMAX where I am and it would have been awkward to review it without being able to test out the wireless capabilities.

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I was very fortunate to have been given the wonderful opportunity to try out a Nokia device, most notably, a Nokia Internet Tablet device. So not only will I be trying a different platform device but also a device I’ve never tried out before. And I welcome this opportuntiy.

Now, don’t be confused by the Internet Tablet name as it’s not really like a typical UMPC. Personally, I’d like to think that it’s really another PDA device, almost like Palm’s Lifedrive which offers built-in Wi-Fi, a large viewable screen, touch screen plus a host of other features like a slide out keyboard, built-in GPS, built-in camera.

Please keep in mind that I have only been familiar with Palm OS and Windows Mobile platforms and this is my first exposure to a Nokia device. Okay, maybe not as I have owned a few older Nokias but that’s long before the operating systems are what they are today. As well, this particular Nokia device runs on the Linux Maemo OS2008 platform, and not the typical Symbian OS platform. So, a lot of my thoughts will reflect on my newbie experience with both the Nokia device as well as the Linux Maemo OS2008 platform.

Large screen

The first thing I noticed about the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet is the much larger screen size. Oh boy! Being so accustomed to the square screens of the Treo 650, 750, Zire 71, etc, this is like being in heaven! The colors are vibrant and the main Home view screen is quite interesting as it is like a computer desktop with moveable widgets. To have this type of customization that was not supported in either Palm OS or Windows Mobile platform (not that I am familar with) is quite a lot fun. Unfortunately, there are only a few widgets that are supported on my Nokia N810 unit. Regardless, once I’ve set up my home’s wireless access, the RSS feed widget will update every 10 minutes with new newsfeeds and that’s quite nice. It’s definitely one of the main strengths of this platform in my view. So, I’m sure that ACCESS is onto something with its widget support.

Desk stand

The Internet Tablet is equipped with a desk stand which can be adjusted to display the device at a preferred angle on a flat surface, like a desk. So, it can be a great desktop companion that shows the current date and time and whatever else is viewable on the Home screen.

Before continuing on, please accept my apologies as I was unable to capture screenshots of the screen since I could not locate a screenshot capturing software. The best way to get a feel of what the platform is like is to view the videos found in Part 2.

Touchscreen navigation

Being acquainted with touchscreen devices, it wasn’t difficult to navigate around. The Maemo OS2008 platform sets the applications (task navigator) at the left sidebar and similar to Windows, will bring up sub-menus and lists them along the right upon a stylus tap.

At the top left corner is the internet (web browser) component which will bring up your bookmarks and url history. Underneath it is the Contacts which offers access to your Contacts, email, chat and other communication related features. Underneath that is the application menu which is broken down into sub categories of My selection (Map, Skype, Media Player, Images, Help), Internet (Web, Bookmarks, RSS Feed Reader), Communication (Contacts, Email, Internet Call, Chat, Gizmo), Utilities (File Manager, Calculator, Clock, Notes, PDF Reader, Sketch, Search, X-Terminal), Settings (Control Panel, Application Manager, Backup/Restore, Connection manager, Handwriting recognition), Extras (Chess, Blocks, Mahjong, Marbles, Get Started, other user added applications). Please keep in mind that some of the apps listed may not be default apps that came with the device but user installed. The list of menu options are similar to what you’d find in the Windows Start menu with sub-menus showing up to the right of the previous menu. So, even on a different platform, it’s quite easy to figure out how to navigate around. There are upward or downward pointing arrows ^v to scroll up or down found throughout the OS and of course, scroll bars are available at the right.

Slide out keyboard

Although normally hidden, the Nokia N810 has a slide out keyboard, enabling those of us who prefer to input data via the physical keys to be able to do so. Aside from the QWERTY keys, there are other buttons to aid in navigating around. There is a navigation directional pad and a menu button to aid in moving around within the application or access menus. Or, you can slide it back in and bring up the on-screen touch keyboard and tap the virtual keys either with your stylus or your fingers. There is an option to select whether to support stylus taps or both stylus and fingers or disable it altogether.

Built-in Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi is one of the strengths of this device as it offers not only constant access to the internet, unlike many other devices, the internet doesn’t time out. The screen will dim slightly after 20 seconds and totally turn off after a minute of inactivity to preserve battery life. The LED light at the top left hand corner of the device will intermittently flash to indicate that the device is still on and running.

Built-in GPS with maps

The built-in GPS is obviously another plus for this device. I can determine my current location simply by going into the Settings and tapping on the Location button. It provides me with the exact location of where I am, updating frequently. This is quite fun as I can see that the location changes as I drive from point A to B. The strange thing about the GPS sensor or receiver is that it is located at the top left hand corner, near the power LED light. Had I not read the manual about it, I may have obstructed the receiver by holding it with my left hand. Also, like with most GPS devices, it is best to have it outside and provide it with unobstructed view of the sky.

The N810 comes supplied with USA maps which is stored in its internal memory. Unfortunately, since I’m in Canada, that’s not very helpful so I have to trust that the GPS with the built-in maps will work well in the USA. Regardless, it’s still nice to be able to view exact locations and streets on the N810 with the maps. It can zoom in quite easily and I can quickly direct where I want to go with the stylus. This can definitely be very handy when traveling.

To provide you with more details and specifications of the device, here’s the official list:

Nokia N810 Technical Specifications (taken from Nokia’s website):

General

Size

Volume: 128 cc
Weight: 226 g
Length: 72 mm
Width: 128 mm
Thickness: 14 mm
Display

High-resolution 4.13″ WVGA display (800 x 480 pixels) with up to 65,000 colors
Processor

TI OMAP 2420, 400Mhz

Memory

DDR RAM 128MB
Flash 256MB

Storage

Up to 2GB internal memory
Support for compatible miniSD and microSD memory cards (with extender). Supports cards up to 8GB. (SD cards over 2GB must be SDHC compatible.)

Operating times*

Battery: Nokia Battery BP-4L
Continuous usage (display on, wireless LAN active): up to 4 hours
Music playback: up to 10 hours
Always online time: up to 5 days
Standby time: up to 14 days

*Operating times may vary depending on the radio access technology used, configuration and usage. The availability of the product and its features depend on your area and service providers, so please contact them and your Nokia dealer for further information.

Other characteristics

Smooth slide with integrated QWERTY keyboard
Built-in GPS receiver
High quality stereo speakers and sensitive microphone
High-resolution widescreen display
Integrated desk stand
Integrated VGA web camera
HW key to lock touch screen and keys
Ambient light sensor

Connectivity

WLAN standard: IEEE 802.11b/g
Bluetooth specification v. 2.0 +EDR
Profiles supported: HID, FTP, DUN, GAP, SPP, HSP, SAP and OPP
USB 2.0 high speed
3.5 mm stereo headphone plug (Nokia AV Connector)

Language support

HW keyboard variants: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish-Portuguese, Scandinavian and Russian
User interface languages: British English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, American English, Brazilian Portuguese, Canadian French, Latin American Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese
User guide languages: British English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, American English, Brazilian Portuguese, Canadian French, Latin American Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, Arabic

Internet Tablet OS: maemo Linux based OS2008

General

The seamless update functionality allows internet tablet users to automatically receive and install the latest software updates
Extra applications available from the Internet

Web Browsing

Browser based on Mozilla technology with state-of-the-art web standard support including AJAX
Page navigation with scrolling, panning or using hardware buttons, zooming in and out of web sites.
Full desktop Adobe® Flash® 9 plugin, including video and audio streaming

Media

In-built media player for viewing and listening to downloaded, transfered or streamed media content and easy-on-device management of media library
Direct access to shared media over Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)
Supported video formats: 3GP, AVI, WMV, MP4, H263, H.264, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, RV (RealVideo)
Supported audio formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, AMR, AWB, M4A, MP2, RA (RealAudio), WAV
Supported playlist formats: M3U, PLS, ASX, WAX, WVX, WPL

Communications

Internet messaging and calling with video
Effortless and automated presence and contacts application for centralizing communication tasks
SIP support and interoperability with industry standard services

Map

Map application with pre-loaded maps including points of interests
Premium services available on purchase including Wayfinder navigation.

E-mail

Browser access to familiar webmail services
Get an easy start to desktop email with pre-configured email services
E-mail application for personal e-mail usage with IMAP, STMP, and POP3 support

Images

Full-screen image viewing and slideshow functionality
Supported Image formats: BMP, GIF, ICI, JPE, JPEG, PNG, TIF/TIFF, SVG, Tiny, WBMP

RSS Reader

Reader for subscribing, managing and keeping up-to date with web feeds
Support for RSS 1.0/2.0 and Atom 1.0

Utilities

File manager
PDF reader
Clock
Games chess, blocks, mahjong and marbles
Backup and restore

Input Methods

HW keyboard, full screen finger keyboard and on-screen keyboard

Package Contents

Standard Sales Package Contents

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet
Nokia Battery BP-4L
Nokia Stereo Headset HS-48
Nokia Travel Charger AC-4
Nokia Car Holder CR-89
Pouch CP-223
Nokia Connectivity Cable CA-101
Get started guide
Safety, warranty and other product information booklet
SAR
Eco Declaration
Declaration of Conformity

Here are some more links to information you may be interested in:

Nokia N810 userguide (Nokia Europe)

Nokia N810 userguide (Nokia USA)

And the Maemo.org’s website listing 265 titles for the Nokia N800 and N810

Maemo.org software for OS2008
Maemo OS2008 software for N800 and N810

To give you a teaser of the device, here’s an overview video of the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet showing the external features of the device.

Overview Video of Nokia N810 Internet Tablet

N810 Overview video at YouTube

This concludes the first part of a three part series on the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet Device. Part 2 will cover the software and navigation and go over some of the programs found in the N810 device.

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