Nokia Calls Up VoIP For Wi-Fi Tablet

By James Alan Miller

July 05, 2006

System update delivers Internet calling and other enhancements to Nokia 770.

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As expected, Nokia has released a platform update for its Linux-based Wi-Fi-enabled device, the 770 Internet Tablet, which it first started shipping late in 2005. A beta of Internet Tablet OS 2006 has been available since June 9th. The 770 is a detour for Nokia, as it only accesses the Web and receives e-mail via 802.11b/g broadband wireless, not a cellular network. So it is really a PDA, not a smartphone; even shrugging off the Finnish phone-maker's usual advanced handset interfaces (S60, S80) and the Symbian OS for the wide-open open source road.

Internet Tablet OS 2006 significantly adds support for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calling. So it includes Google's free Google Talk service, which allows users to exchange instant messaging and make Internet-based voice calls. Google is also the default search provider for the 770.

The update also supports SIP-based VoIP solutions. Standalone software applications, like Gizmo Project by SIPPhone, are a planned to be available, for example. The Gizmo Project allows users to make and receive calls from public telephony networks.

With the update, there's enhanced text typing with a full-screen finger keyboard, better memory performance and a refreshed look, according to Nokia. A improved home view desktop allows users to choose from a variety of small applets to speed up access to Internet services.

The free software update can be downloaded here. But be careful, it is not backward compatible. Nokia warns: "Installed applications designed for OS 2005 will not be compatible with OS 2006 edition and will not be restored even from backup."

In addition to Internet and e-mail access, the 770 comes with applications to read RSS news feeds, listen to audio, watch video, and view images. While its Wi-Fi radio lets users access the Internet via broadband, support for Bluetooth enables you to use the tablet in conjunction with a Bluetooth-enabled phone; as part of a personal area network.

It has 64 MB of RAM and a RS-MMC (reduced-size MultiMediaCard) slot for memory expansion.

The 770's landscape orientated touch screen display measures 4.1 inches diagonally and runs at a healthy 800 x 480-pixel resolution. The unit itself measures 5.1 x 3.1 x 0.75 inches (141 x 79 x 19 millimeters) and weighs 8.3 ounces (230 grams).

With the unique device in its product lineup, Nokia said it hopes to free people from the Wi-Fi tether of desktop computers. "Most Internet use is done from a PC, which is usually fixed to a certain place and is pretty restrictive,” asserted the phone-maker's VP of convergence products Janne Jormalainen when the 770 was first introduced. “Wouldn't it be nice to make a Voice Over IP (VoIP) call from anywhere in the house, do instant messaging at the kitchen table, or do a Google search in the bedroom?"

These are things Microsoft would like the new Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC) to do as well; but those are full-fledged Windows XP computers, up to two to three times as expensive, considerably heavier, and larger. Non-UMPC Windows XP pocket-sized tablets from OQO and Sony (the new VAIO UX) are even more costly (and full featured) even.

Story courtesy of PDAStreet.

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