Nokia had a relative success selling the first incarnation of its Internet tablet concept: the Nokia 770.
Quietly and without much advertising, the company managed to grab the attention of a lot of geeks (mostly in the Linux domain) who quickly saw a device full of software hackabilities (a.k.a. possibilities). That is exactly the level of attention that Palm pretends/needs to make the Foleo the start of a successful line of products, but if they do not opensource its... well, that's another post.
I was just discovering the Nokia 770 marvels (thanks to my fellow Serantes) when Nokia released a powerful successor, the N800. I luckily had the money, so it was a no brainier... three weeks later, I sold it and bought a 770 plus a 30Gb Ipod video with the money earned... Why picking up an older device? Here are my reasons:
- I didn't feel comfortable carrying a 400 euro plus accessories device as I would be carrying a cheaper one. I bought the Nokia 700 for 150 euro, and guess what, that number doesn't bother me, should the gadget get lost or stolen.
- The N800 is too sexy for me, really, I was worried about its paintings and screen from the very first moment I hold it in my hands. I just had to buy a (very elegant by the way) leather cover from Boxwave and a screen protector, but these came at the expense of adding bulkiness to the device and increasing its monetary value. The leather case made also absurdly difficult to click on the left buttons. Not the same story with his old brother the 770, this little baby is just perfectly black-sober (no more paintings suffering) and has a sturdy front cover, so it doesn't need a case. It also feels lighter and far more pocketable.
- I find the Nokia 770 battery more durable than the N800 by leaps and bounds... I don't know if it was just a problem with my N800 unit or if Maemo 2007 sucks more power (I had the autoconnect wifi off if you wonder). I can browse the web 4 hours non-stop, twice the time that my first tablet did.
- The 770 has bigger/better placed buttons, this is immensely important as you will need them constantly. The N800 zoom button is awfully shaped and there is the power button... you need long sharpen nails to click on this.
- Maemo 2006 is almost identical to 2007, at least for my needs: browse the web with opera, listen/download podcasts with gpodder, gmail, radio streamming and the marvellous fbreader for e-books.
- The music handling experience with the N800 struck my nerves every time: I needed 14 clicks to get to play the song that I wanted regardless of the music player I used. Compare that with a 4 click's ipod experience. The same applies to the 770, of course.
So why I'm happier with my 770 now? You know, it's not the new kid on the block anymore, but it handles very well everything i want it for, and for music I can trust on the Ipod any time. But most of all, it is inexpensive by now, truly pocketable and has a glorious screen and very good battery life. The 770 is sturdier, I feel I can treat it more rudely than its handsome brother, I can close it with a slap of his cover and put it without worry in my bag, instantly... I don't know, it just feels way more pocketable to me.
Of course, the N800 has more power and twice the memory, it handles better multitasking and plays videos smoother (since its first firmware upgrade). It is definitely quicker, but not enough to put to shame the 770. It also has 2 sd slots and FM radio but... all in all, as I didn't see it as a road warrior at the time, all that superiorness was sitting on a shelve every day... What's that raw power when you don't barely use it? So I think I'll stick with my Nokia 770 for a long time, at least until a Zaurus C1000 comes along my way...