Friday 20 March 2009

In which I continue to resist the Iphone.

I would just like to say that I have got one of these Nokia N810 Internet Tablets. And it is a superb piece of kit. One of my colleagues immediately spotted the potential for a good portmanteau word: "Wablet". And so that's what I've been calling it.

I also got a collapsible Bluetooth keyboard to go with it. It is also excellent.

While the whole world heads in the direction of convergence — putting everything into the same device — Nokia, bless 'em, have spotted that there is a market for divergence. So the Wablet isn't a phone, but can seamlessly use your phone's connection when it needs it. In fact, the Wablet connects to the Net through your phone with even less effort than it takes to connect a Nokia phone to the Net directly. Go figure. Anyway, the idea is that now, instead of a huge bloody great clunky phone like what I used to have, I have a lovely sleek little phone (which is also impressivley superb, by the way) and the Wablet. This means that I have choice: I can take the Wablet when I want the computing power, or I can just take the phone by itself when I don't need all that extra stuff and am short of pockets. Having spent a few years with big phones, I'm really appreciating this.

I can't be bothered writing a full review — it would be a waste of time anyway, as there are loads to be found on the Web, and they're all pretty-much right. But I'll just say a couple of things about it.

Firstly, if you're thinking of getting a netbook because you want a really portable computer, then, if you're happy using a version of Linux instead of Windows, this thing is far far smaller and more portable than any netbook. I can put it in one pocket and the keyboard in another.

Secondly, if you have no patience for geeky tinkering, it might be an idea not to get one. If all you want to do is browse the Web and check email and listen to music and look at photos, then it works absolutely perfectly out of the box (well, after you update the firmware, anyway, which really was very easy). If you want to install other apps, well.... They all supposedly install very easily with just a couple of clicks. Some of them, however, do silly Linuxy things like telling you that they need a different library and expecting you to know what the hell to do about it.

On the other hand, because its browser is so good, any app that can run from a browser can run on the N810.

Apparently, it's possible to install the full version of Debian Linux on it and then you can run any app Linux will run, including Openoffice — which would give you a full word-processor in an incredibly small package. I might just have to give that a try.

Technical details aside, just for sheer fun, this is one of the best gadgets ever. I tried an Iphone once, and was surprised to discover, being an Apple fan, that I didn't like it. Just didn't get on with the interface for some reason. Took to the N810 like a duck to water. Some of the third-party apps for it may be a bit buggy, but the operating system itself is just lovely.

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