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Nokia debuts Linux-powered Internet tablet

May 25, 2005 — by Henry Kingman — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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[Updated Nov. 7, 2005] — Nokia demonstrated a compact, handheld tablet powered by Linux at LinuxWorld in New York. The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet is intended to offer convenient Internet browsing and email through built-in WiFi, or via a Bluetooth connection to a compatible mobile phone. The 770 is Nokia's first consumer product based on Linux.

(Click for larger view of Nokia 770 Internet Tablet)

The 770 Internet Tablet is a small (5.5 x 3.1 x 0.7 in.) tablet with a wide, 4.3-inch, 800 x 480 pixel touch-screen and integrated WiFi and Bluetooth wireless. Bundled software includes: web browser, email client, Internet radio, news reader, media players, image viewer, file manager, search, calculator, world clock, PDF-viewer, notes, sketch, games.

The Nokia 770 is not the first product from Nokia based on embedded Linux — the company has previously marketed Linux-based network infrastructure devices to carriers. Although best known for the proprietary Symbian OS that powers its mobile phones (and which it owns 49 percent of), Nokia is a staunch supporter of open source, sponsoring projects such as Movial's ingenius scratchbox project, and, according to rumors, the MiniMo (mini Mozilla) project. Still, the 770 may be the first Linux-powered consumer product from the number one handset vendor — and the first in a whole line of Linux-powered Internet Tablets from Nokia.

The Nokia 770 is based on a 220-MHz, ARM9-based Texas Instruments (TI) OMAP 1710, an SoC (system-on-chip) that combines an ARM926TEJ processor core with a TI DSP. TI also offers a chipset for mobile phones based on the OMAP 1710, suggesting that a future Internet Tablet from Nokia could gain direct GSM/GPRS, EDGE, or UMTS support (for example, to enable direct music or movie downloads).

The Tablet lacks a hard drive, but has 64MB of free Flash space for user files, expandable through an MMC slot. Battery life is expected to be about three hours. The device weighs 8.1 ounces.

The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet runs an operating system called Nokia Internet Tablet 2005, which Nokia says is based on Linux and other open source software. The open source distribution includes an on-screen keyboard, Internet Radio, RSS news reader, image viewer, and media players.

Linux software and SDK

The company offers a complete source distribution and software development kit for the distribution, available as Debian source and binary packages, and as a 125MB download. The device runs a 2.6 Linux kernel, and has a GNOME-based GUI.

Nokia has launched a community website to support open source software developers and “innovation houses” working with the Nokia 770, or interested in collaborating with Nokia on future devices and OS releases in the Internet Tablet category. The Maemo.org site offers screenshots, a software roadmap, an FAQ, and more.

Nokia's VP of convergence products, Janne Jormalainen, said, “With the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet consumers can access broadband Internet services away from their desktop. Linux and the Open Source development platform provide us with fast and efficient solutions to build products for this new Nokia product category. This is the first step in creating an Open Source product for broadband and Internet services. We will be launching regular updates of the software. The next software release, planned for the first half of next year, will support more presence-based functionalities, such as VoIP and Instant Messaging.”

Summary of specifications

Nokia lists the following additional specifications for the 770 Internet Tablet:

  • Display — 800×480 pixel (WVGA) 4.3-inch touchscreen with up to 65,536 colors
  • Memory:
    • RAM — 64MB DDR RAM
    • 128MB Flash with > 64MB for user
    • Memory card — 64MB RS-MMC (Reduced Size MultiMediaCard)
  • Wireless communications:
    • WLAN — 802.11b/g
    • Bluetooth 1.2
      • For Internet connection and file transfer via phone
      • Profiles supported — dial-up networking, file transfer, generic access, SIM access, and serial port profiles
  • Other connections:
    • USB device mode for PC connectivity
    • RS-MMC
    • 3.5 mm stereo audio out
    • Power connector (2mm)
  • Software:
    • Operating system — Internet Tablet 2005 software edition
    • Applications (in 2005 software edition) — Web Browser, Flash player version 6, Email client, Internet radio, news reader, media players, image viewer, PDF viewer, file manager, search, calculator, world clock, notes, sketch, games
    • Supported file formats:
      • Audio — MP3, Real Audio, MPEG4, AAC, WAV, AMR, MP2
      • Image — JPEG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, PNG, Animated GIF format, SVG-tiny, ICO
      • Video — MPEG1, MPEG4, Real Video, H.263, AVI, 3GP

    • Language Support:

      • User Interface — British English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, American English, Canadian French, Mexican Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese
      • User's Guide: Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Czech, Hungarian, Russian, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese, Mexican Spanish
  • Physical specs:
    • Size — 5.5 x 3.1 x 0.7 inches (141 x 79 x 19 mm)
    • Weight — 230 g
    • Color — Black and matte silver
    • Operating temperature — -10 to +55 degrees C
    • Battery —
      • Type — BP-5L
      • Capacity — 1500 mAh
      • Browsing time — 3 hours
      • Standby time — 7 days
  • Sales package contents:
    • Nokia 770 Internet Tablet
    • 2 stylus pens
    • Pouch
    • Battery (BP-5L)
    • Travel charger (AC-4)
    • 64 MB RS-MMC memory card
    • Connectivity cable DKE-2 (USB)
    • Desk stand DT-7
    • User guide
    • Quick start guide

    Options:

    • Mobile charger (DC-4)
    • Charger adapter (CA-44)
    • RS-MMCs

Some interesting internal photos of the 770 Internet Tablet are available here.

Additional details about the device — including skeptical analysis of tablet devices from Sascha Segan — are available from PC Magazine, here.

Availability — updated Nov. 7, 2005

The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet began shipping in Europe during the first week of November 2005, and is expected to ship in the US a fortnight later, priced around $350. It may also be available with service plans from carrier partners, the company says.


Nokia's LinuxWorld Presentation


This interesting slide show by Nokia's Dr. Ari Jaaksi provides insight into Nokia's experience in creating a consumer electronics device based on Linux and other open source software. The presentation also includes an overview of the features of the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet and a discussion of its software architecture.

View Nokia's LinuxWorld presentation


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This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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