Friday, December 28, 2007

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet Review

Thanks again to WOM World for the chance to review the N810. It was a wonderful pre-Christmas surprise that I enjoyed greatly.

The Hardware
The N810 is a very slick mobile device, in more ways than one. The design is much improved over the design of the N800. However, the smoothness of the material and the curvaciousness of the tablet make the N810 quite slippery. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the N95-3's rubberized back. Or maybe the N810 and future Internet Tablets could use a similar coating of some non-slip surface.

To jump right into the quirks of the device, the d-pad placement could not have been worse for people used to the 770 or N800 tablets. There should have at least been a secondary mode of navigation to compensate for the keyboard being closed most of the time, which is how I naturally wanted to use it. However, it did force me to have to use the keyboard more. The slide out keyboard is nice, but I had no problems using the virtual keyboard on the other two tablets. So, to me it's more of a waste of space and materials that could have been something more useful, like TV-out functionality, a nice camera, additional memory card slot, or even a larger battery. Speaking of memory cards slots, I think it was a bad move by Nokia to switch from having two SD slots in the N800 to just one MiniSD slot in the N810. I guess GPS and hardware keyboard were more important for this tablet.

The screen is excellent. Very clear and responds to touch quite well. I like that the stylus and top edge buttons on the N810 are more like the 770 this time around. I also really like the micro USB change (now if only we could use it to charge and power the device). The little LED indicator is a cool addition. Makes the device very futuristic looking at night. The speaker placement was a bit odd, but works well enough for such a feature packed tablet. Of course the screen lock switch was a good move, and shows that Nokia is listening.

The Software
The UI is really nice and the 2008 OS is a heck of a lot more responsive. I don't miss the Opera browser at all either. This one never crashed on me even one time while I surfed the web and used other applications. As for the Application Manager, it still doesn't like me for some reason. Had a bit of an issue installing some apps, and never got Canola 2 Beta to install at all. Good thing the built-in media player was superb. I even enjoyed a couple downloaded shows and forgot for a moment that I was watching them on a mobile device.

I really like the theme transparency features and the ability to resize home applets. I notice most apps load much quicker also. Never really got GPS working for some strange reason, but then I didn't have much time to delve into what supposedly is one of the greatest additions to the Internet Tablet line. Overall, the UI is much more finger friendly than ever before, and that's good enough for my needs.

Final Thoughts
The N810 experience is certainly an awesome one, and these tablets are becoming more and more like ultra portable computers than ever. However, I hope Nokia moves more into a direction where hardware keyboards are replaced with a virtual keyboard with haptic feedback and accelerometers are integrated much like the N95. The potential is phenomenal for these Internet Tablets, and I look forward to what Nokia brings next to this fast growing world of mobile computing.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

NET9 News Flash!

This just in...

N96 images have been leaked. It looks very much like the N81, but bigger, with a dual slider (?), and a nifty little kickstand. Check out the pics over at IntoMobile before they possibly disappear.

Canola2 Beta has been let out of the cage finally, but it's so popular, that I haven't been able to download the application yet. There will be lots to talk about concerning this long anticipated app in the weeks to come.

And finally, our NET9 review of the N810 is just about finished and will round out the news for this amazing year. Stay tuned, it's not over yet.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Predictions For 2008

This year has been an awesome one, and a lot of the great new technological announcements and developments have been merely sneak peeks of what's to come in 2008. We've seen many great things come about this year. Now it's time once again to look into the future...

- Motion-based functionality in mobile devices will be big in 2008. With the introduction of the Nintendo Wii and the recent discovery of the N95's built-in accelerometer, the possibilities have been expanded tremendously. Imagine scrolling around on a web page just by tilting your mobile screen, or interacting realistically in a racing game by steering as you would in an actual car. There's just so many great ideas and uses for this technology, I'd only be scratching the surface by listing the ones I have in my mind.

- Touchscreens and haptic feedback for S60 is going to rock very hard. Think of having the power of an S60 smartphone like the N95 combined with the interactivity options of an Internet Tablet. Not only that, but the new dimension that the S60 platform is expanding into will bring about many great new ideas that will immerse users in a whole new mobile experience. Watch for the new S60 to transform the mobile world as you know it. And watch for more innovative ways of using these technologies from upcoming developers.

- Google's Android platform will be a huge deal in 2008. I think it marks the turning point in how a mobile lifestyle will be presented to the masses, and with Google planing on biding in the upcoming auction for the much talked about wireless spectrum, There appears to be very big plans for mobile coming real soon. It will cause a shakedown of the telecommunications industry, and open new doors to mobile developers who have been waiting for this for quite some time. The wait is now over. Mobile will be open.

- We will finally see NFC (Near Field Communication) in more and more places next year. There will be more devices like the Nokia 6131 NFC, that will change the way we do business, connect to the world, and interact within it. Imagine starting your car, entering your secure office, buying football tickets, and even sharing music and photos with friends all with your phone, all with a wave or tap of your phone. It sounds like magic, and beyond anything I remember from Star Trek.

- Like it or not, mobile convergence will continue to be a big trend going into next year. Mobile devices like the N95 and the N810 have shown that the future will have many features and options in a single device instead of multiple gadgets. Phone, camera, video recorder/player, audio recorder/player, TV, GPS, game console, stereo system, and access to the Internet all in one mobile device. It's already here, but expect to see more added to this list and more devices added to the selection.

- WiMAX trickles into the US from Sprint and it's XOHM service. It's still hazy as to how this technology will eventually mature, but I still believe it will be a great addition to the wireless options to connect the ever growing mobile market. My guess is that it will be big, but not as big as the hype surrounding it.

- Multiple SIM card slot phones. Don't have much foundation to stand on with this one. There have been multi-SIM capable phones coming out of Asia for some time now, and Samsung is moving into this direction with at least one phone. We'll just have to wait and see how this one develops over the next 12 months.

- N-Gage has fumbled, but I believe Nokia will make a quick recovery. One of the most anticipated mobile gaming platform launches in a long time may have been delayed until next year, but with the extra time to hammer out those last minute bugs (thanks to the "exclusive" pre-release testing on the N81 phones), I think Nokia will have a great "official" launch over the next couple months. It has to. N-Gage fans are depending on it.

- There will be many more exciting NET9 reviews for mobile gadgets and technologies, NET9 will continue to evolve and grow in new and exciting directions, and of course we will utilize the very technology we love to talk about to bring quality content to the web for your enjoyment. Thank you all for another great year. We hope to see you through 2008 as well.

"Don't let the future happen, make it happen."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet: Unboxed

Here's my quick unboxing of the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet sent by way of DHL from the WOM World team. Big thanks to WOM World for the opportunity to review this pimp new tablet from Nokia. An extensive NET9 review of the device is in progress. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have some fun...

NET9 Turns 2

It's amazing how time flies. Today NET9 makes 2 years old, but it feels like it was just yesterday when we decided to start something that we knew would grow into something really big. And my, how it has grown...

Over the past two years we've made 444 posts, had over 17,000 unique visitors, and an incalculable amount of fun. Sure, we've seen our share of ups and downs, but nothing big enough to stop the NET9 movement. So as we continue to follow the many interesting trends in the mobile space and even help shape our mobile future, stay with us. This is just the start of something really big.

I'd also like to thank all the great people I've met through this blogging adventure for all the help, encouragement, insight, and perspective you've given us. It's all about connecting to each other, and using that connection to help make ourselves better people to connect to...

Anyway, I hope that cycle continues for a very long time to come. And as always, don't let the future happen, make it happen.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Nokia Wireless Keyboard SU-8W

I've wanted to get a nice bluetooth keyboard for some time now, not long after I purchased my 770 Internet Tablet in fact, and I finally got one. I decided on the Nokia Wireless Keyboard (SU-8W) and I'm pretty happy with the purchase. The size of the keyboard is much smaller than I expected, but not so small as to make me feel like a giant. So far I'm getting the hang of the smallness of the keys. I also noticed that the keys are in a slightly awkward position than what I'm used to.

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I seem to be making many more mistakes at first than with a full size keyboard. It takes some getting used to, but I think this is significantly faster than using T9 on the N95, but about the same as the thumb keyboard for the tablet. And although the built-in adjustable stand is a welcome feature, my left hand gets in the way quite a bit. Other than those minor quirks, the keyboard works very well for hammering out large amounts of text. Pairing with the N95 was a breeze, and it also works great with the 770 Internet Tablet using the Maemo Bluetooth Connectivity Plugin.

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I especially like the standard S60 menu, Messaging, and option keys. Those are great and will be used a lot when paired with the N95. the connection range is quite good, and have yet to get any errors telling me that the connection was broken. Battery life seems good so far, but then again, I've only been using it for a few days now. It slides around a little, which is annoying, but I can deal with that. I do wish there was a locking mechanism to keep the keyboard rigid when open. As it stands, the board naturally wants to fold in the middle while on uneven surfaces such as a person's lap. But that's easily corrected by having a book, folder, or hardcover notebook under it for support.

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It will definitely serve its purpose for some time alongside my mobile devices. And I wish there was a simple battery life indicator, but I can expect to buy lots of AAA batteries anyways as there are a few other devices of mine that use them also. I still wonder why there hasn't been much interest in developing bluetooth mouse or game pad functionality for S60 phones and mobile devices in general.


The SU-8W wireless keyboard is a great accessory to Nokia phones and Internet Tablets alike, and I'm glad to have it for times like these when using just the thumbs won't cut it. Of course this post was typed using the keyboard, build quality is excellent, and should last a very long time. It's great to finally be able to fold up and go at a moment's notice.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Much More To Come...

Here's a quick news blip from the news surrounding the Nokia World 2007 event. Nokia has released the new Internet Radio (Beta) for select smartphones. It works really great on the N95, and I don't even have to use my headphones as an antenna to hear music through the external speakers. Lot's of stations to choose from, and the selection will likely grow quickly over the next several months.

And of course there's a nice review of the Nokia Wireless Keyboard SU-8W coming up really soon. But what I really can't wait for is the eventual N-Gage launch. I have plans to review as many games as I can get my hands on, so prepare to be bombarded with lots of great reviews. Also, there may be a special surprise review before year's end.

Last but not least, a very big day is coming up for NET9 and we've already got our time machine set to visit 2008, so look out for our vision of the future in the weeks to come.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Very Cool, But Very Creepy

I've been playing with the latest version of Google Maps on the N95-3 recently, and it is pretty slick.The new 'My Location' feature is great. Very accurate, fast, and uses less power than GPS. I imagine Google has very big plans with this fast growing application.

I hope to see Google Maps for mobile expand into a very useful and time and money saving service going forward. Once again, Google is in the right place at the right time, and this time they have it all mapped out for themselves.