Nokia Launches ‘Context-Aware’ Internet Tablet

By Richard Martin

Seeking to maintain its leadership in an increasingly competitive smartphone market, Nokia on Wednesday announced the N810 Internet tablet, the latest addition to its high-end N-series of smartphones.

The new tablet operates over Wi-Fi networks, and via a Bluetooth wireless connection to a cellular device that it uses as a wireless modem. Last week, Nokia said it would include the Devicescape Connect application, which allows users to connect automatically to Wi-Fi networks in range, as a default option on its N-series and E-series devices.

The pricey N95 device was released in September of 2006 and was brought to the U.S. six months later. On Monday, Nokia said it would begin shipping an 8-Gbyte version of the N95, calling it “the memory-packed big brother” to the original phone. The new N95 can store up to 20 hours of video or up to 6,000 songs, according to Nokia.

The N810 — which will offer support for Nokia’s new “Ovi” Web services platform — the third milestone in a five-phase journey toward a fully connected, mobile Web 2.0 computer. The first step in this scheme was the N770 Internet tablet and the second was the release of the N800, one year ago. The N810 is the first of these devices targeted at a ‘normal’ consumer group, beyond the geeks “It’s a fairly small entity of technology leaders, but it’s a very important step No. 3 for us.

This is an important product in defining what the context-sensitive Web can actually be.

Based on the open-source Linux operating system, the new device offers a Mozilla-based Web browser with the Adobe Flash 9 plug-in, a 4.13-inch screen, support for IM, mobile e-mail, and voice-over-IP. It also has an integrated GPS receiver with a built-in maps application.

The new Net tablet, however, also will remind some observers of the ill-fated Foleo from Palm, a wireless Internet tablet designed to connect to mobile devices and provide a richer and fuller browsing experience. Palm announced recently it will not release the Foleo, announced with some fanfare earlier this year. The next milestone for Nokia will be incorporating full-connectivity options in an N810-like device, but when that might happen is unclear.

While Nokia still dominating the overall mobile phone market, the company faces increasing challenges in the market for more advanced devices such as smartphones and handheld multimedia computers. Besides Apple’s wildly popular iPhone, now expected to sell as many as 10 million units in its first year of shipping, Nokia’s other rival vendors, including Samsung and Taiwanese handset-maker HTC, are bringing more and more innovative devices to market (Sprint Nextel said Wednesday it will sell HTC’s Touch, a touch-screen smartphone previously released overseas, in the U.S. beginning in November).

Also on Wednesday, Boingo Wireless said that its Wi-Fi connectivity program is now available on select Nokia devices, including the N810. Boingo Mobile automatically connects to the company’s worldwide network of Wi-Fi hotspots.

Source: Information Week

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2 Responses to Nokia Launches ‘Context-Aware’ Internet Tablet

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