Nokia 770 internet tablet, €355

3 May 2006

Although the tech sector seems to blindly believe in the tablet device phenomenon, it is still debatable if the broader public will vote with their feet, or more importantly their pockets.

Aside from the obvious tablet PC genre, which is raging in the US but failed to ignite elsewhere, the personal entertainment opportunity for these devices is exciting but still extremely niche. We are seeing this latter phenomenon come alive with such devices as the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) games console or the Archos AV500 portable DVD recorder.

The least expected entrant into this little revolution is Nokia with the 770 internet tablet (pictured), which lets you to surf the net as well as carry your videos and audio around with you. Nokia’s contribution to the tablet genre is that the device can communicate from anywhere via your mobile phone or through a wireless local area network (WLAN).

Nokia’s move into this market is interesting. Despite being the people’s favourite in the phone market in terms of its reliability, Nokia has been striving to be the uber-cool choice. You can see this in the company’s marketing collateral focused on the youth culture or beautiful people, usually illustrated in glossy shots of elegant and tanned individuals lazing about on a yacht or in a hammock in their linen suits. In reality most of us would probably overstretch the hammock.

While cool works in a glossy style magazine, the practical reality is different. In terms of practicality, the Nokia 770 works brilliantly in ways the Archos or PSP don’t. I switched on the WLAN in the office and found the tablet as an internet device works perfectly for simply browsing webpages or accessing internet radio sites. If you don’t have a WLAN, you can access the internet through your mobile phone via Bluetooth.

It comes with 128MB memory built-in plus capacity for multimedia cards. The device can also be used to support internet applications such as voice over IP. Tech enthusiasts will be delighted to learn that the internet tablet’s operating system is Linux based. The best part for me was the screen, a high resolution 800x480mm touchscreen with an ultra sharp widescreen display.

The device is available from Nokia in Ireland for €355 including Vat.

Handling ***
Features ***
Performance ****
Value for money ***

By John Kennedy