my big gift to myself this season was the nokia 770, a linux-based tablet that is the size of two decks of cards and weighs about 8 ounces. this device is, among other things, proof that there space for internet appliances if the size and price is right. this isn't really a computer, but a sleek web-surfing and emailing tool.
- intuitive virtual keyboard, which appears whenever you tap into any text-entry field. very extensive character library. the cons of this pro: the implementation of "guessing" the word after the first few letters shrinks the space key so that i often chose a wrong word instead of a space.
- the rss reader. this is actually the nerve center of this device, since any rss feed -- news, your gmail box, flickr streams, blogs -- can be added. the most recent eight items display on the home screen, and tapping jumps to the reader, so the browser isn't invoked at all as a matter of course, which speeds things up.
- the email client, which is configurable to non-standard ports and employs various security standards. it will import a contacts file. the con of this pro: it is not easy to delete mails because it is not easy to select them. "select all" requires three keystrokes, and it isn't possible to select a single email, or multiples but not all, by tapping on the mails themselves. Then again, gMail (and I presume other web-interfaces mail services) works just fine in the browser.
- gaim works.
- the resolution of the screen is really quite breathtaking.
- a nice implementation of "right-click" by holding down the sylus to the page
- bluetooth, which makes dial-up possible (and with 3g rolling out that means broadband virtually everywhere)
- even the lowest brightness setting is more than enough.
- very little memory. a "busy" web page will sometimes raise a "memory low" message even if the browser is the only app open.
- fairly slow switching between programs.
- on mine, anyway, it loses connectivity often and for no apparent reason. it does, however, reconnect seamlessly and without any pesters.
- some have complained that there is no ebook reader included. the device itself, given the generous, bright, hi-res screen, probably does lend itself to reading.
- the left nav button is very close to the edge of the inverted cover, making it hard for people without delicate digits to use it.
- on a web page, the nav buttons jump from embedded link to embedded link and thus cannot be used for scrolling; the only way to scroll is to use two hands.
while pricey -- as an early adopter i didn't blink at the nearly $400 cost, including state tax -- the prospect of freeloading wifi prompted me to give up t-mobile's pricey vpn service, which means that the nokia 770 will pay for itself -- in a couple of years :)