The Nokia 770 – a VERY happy medium between the PDA and the UMPC

I recently purchased a Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. I like it a lot.

I’ve been a PDA and portable tech enthusiast for years (Pilot 5000, PalmPilot Pro, Palm III, Palm V, Palm Tungsten C, Palm TX, Logitech io Digital Pen, TabletKiosk eo 7110 UMPC, RIM BlackBerry 957, GBC, GBA, DS, DS Lite, Moto Razr, LG CU320, ipod, ipod Video, SPOT watch). At this point, I feel that there are several classes of portable devices that are essential for me: The Mobile Phone/Email device (LG CU320, no email, now, but hopefully a smartphone soon) is something I need to have with me at all times to keep track of projects while away from the office and while in meetings. The Mobile Internet Tablet is something that I like to carry with me throughout the day to meetings, errands, etc, but the required screen size makes it something I can’t have with me ALL the time (was Palm TX, then TK eo UMPC, now: Nokia 770). The Mobile Workstation (Dell Inspiron 6000d) is with me at work and at home, carried to some meetings.

Everyone is different, so I accept that some of what I’m about to write will not ring true with you. I’m about to group 3 classes of electronic devices into one for the purposes of selecting a ‘winner’.

I use large-screen-PDAs, Internet Tablets and UMPCs for exactly the same functionality, so it makes sense for me to compare devices of all 3 types in order to choose which device to use on a regular basis. I use these devices to browse the web, read feeds, and use web based applications when I’m away from my desktop and notebook PCs. I also read and write email with them, though other devices are more suited to those tasks (smartphones, full sized PCs). I occasionally use them for video and audio.

PDAs, specifically the TX have small screens, usually low res, and weak web browsers. PalmOS based PDAs don’t even have the concept of mult-tabbed or multi-windowed browsing, so you have to navigate away from the site you are looking at if you want to see another. No easy flipping back and forth. In their favor, they have wifi and bluetooth. They are fairly inexpensive and have great battery life. They fit in your pocket.

UMPCs, specifically the TabletKiosk eo 7110, are many times the size of your pocket and have terrible battery life (2-3 hours of active use). They are too awkward to take to a meeting if you also happen to have your laptop in tow. The batteries and power cables are as expensive as notebook power equipment. Still, they too have wifi and bluetooth and can run nearly any application you might need. The screens , 7 inches for the eo, are large enough for collaboration and are beautifully crisp. UMPCs are expensive ($800+).

Winner: The 770 is small enough for your pocket and has great battery life. The screen is large enough (and high res enough) for browsing web sites without switching to the mobile versions. Opera for the 770 has multi-window browsing, AJAX and Flash. Extra power cables cost $15 and the batteries are also inexpensive. The Nokia 770 is only a little more expensive than a PDA at $350. It runs Linux, so lots of desktop apps have already been ported. Overall, it’s a great compromise and has easily won a spot in my daily life.

So, I can’t wait to see what comes out of CES (sounds like a Nokia 780) next month, but I think I’ll be happy with the 770 for a while.

ThoughtFix, thanks for the constant commentary on the 770, making this purchase a truly informed one. InternetTabletTalk,, and developers , thanks for the really exceptional support you’ve put together. Nokia, thanks for the clever combination of components and software that really has hit a sweet spot for me. #maemo on Freenode, thanks for the great conversation!

3 responses to “The Nokia 770 – a VERY happy medium between the PDA and the UMPC”

  1. Andrew Parker says :

    The 770 + Skype is a cellphone replacement for a few friends. You should consider that (if nothing else, it will save you a month’s cellphone fees.

  2. Nicolas says :

    Very interesting post. I do agree that the Nokia 770 is the kind of device I would prefer also. Too bad it doesn’t sale in regular shop here. I would really like to play with it two minutes before buying, because the form factor is important for me. Also I am now waiting for the 770 successor. More RAM and a more powerfull CPU would be great.

%d bloggers like this: