Nokia releases new version of Linux tablet

N810 Wi-Fi tablet will cost $479

Nokia Corp. announced today the latest version of its Linux-based tablet device, which comes with a full keyboard.

The N810 is the third version of Nokia's Wi-Fi tablet. It's expected to be available in November and will cost $479.

The N810 is larger than a cell phone, but smaller than a laptop, yet contains many of the applications typical to both. It includes a Mozilla browser so users can check Web e-mail and visit social networking sites. The N810 also features a camera, Skype Ltd. audioconferencing, a music player and Global Positioning System capability, plus preloaded maps.

Like previous versions, the device comes with a touch screen, but this one also has a slide-out full keyboard.

Unlike Apple Inc.'s iPhone, which also sports a large touch screen, but is so far closed to third-party developers, the N810 is based on Linux and thus open to development. Nokia also announced that it has launched support services for the device within its Forum Nokia developer community. Apple said today that it plans to begin allowing third-party development on the iPhone starting in February.

The Linux-based N810 includes a Mozilla browser, camera, Skype, music player and GPS (Global Positioning System) plus preloaded maps.
The Linux-based N810 includes a Mozilla browser, camera, Skype, music player and GPS (Global Positioning System) plus preloaded maps.

Bloggers predicted the impending launch of the N810 after a news release said that a trade-show party next week would include demonstrations of the N810 as well as Mosh, a Nokia social networking site still in beta.

Interest in this type of device -- in between cell phones and laptops -- may be set to grow. A group of companies, including Mozilla Corp., Arm Ltd. and MontaVista Software Inc., recently began work on a Linux-based system aimed at making it easier for hardware developers to create such devices.

Nokia made a stir when it introduced its first tablet because it didn't include cellular connectivity, an unusual move for the No. 1 cell phone maker. The N810, like its predecessor, can be connected to cellular data networks via a Bluetooth connection to a mobile phone. Nokia hasn't revealed how many of the tablet devices it has sold.

Nokia also announced that users of the tablets and some of its mobile phones can subscribe to hot-spot service from Boingo Wireless Inc. Users download a Boingo client to their device, allowing them to identify and connect to Boingo hot spots. Subscriptions cost $7.95 per month.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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