Updated on June 19, 2015
Mobile Blogging: Nokia N800 Internet Tablet
Oh, how technology has changed since this post was published. Today I travel with a Kindle Fire Tablet or an aging iPad Gen2.
Blove and I purchased a Nokia N800 as a Christmas gift to each other in anticipation for our trip to Uruguay. I had done significant research regarding it specifications as well as reading countless reviews.
The Nokia Internet Tablet line is built to surf the internet not as a PDA. After installing a few third party applications from Maemo.org I have found the N800 to fulfill all of the needs I would have in a PDA.
The N800 allows me to write blog posts anywhere I want and publish them anywhere that I can get a WiFi connection. Most hostels in South America have WiFi even in remote areas. The N800 accepts SDHC memory cards which happens to match our digital camera’s format. We used the Nokia to upload all of our blog and flickr images from Uruguay. The on screen keyboard is really too small to write a lengthy post or email. Most of the posts have been written from computers, but the addition of a folding bluetooth keyboard would make this unnecessary. The N800 will sync with most bluetooth keyboards on the market, but you may want to check around online just to be sure. I haven’t used the built in keyboard on the Nokia N810 so I don’t know whether a bluetooth keyboard would be needed with the newer model.
Skype for those of you who don’t know is a “free” voice over IP (VOIP) service provider owned by eBay. Skype allows free “skype to skype” calls which works well if you and the person you need to talk to are both at computers often or have a pre-arranged call time. My parents still have dial-up internet so communicating through the computer with them is not an option; and you thought that didn’t exist any more. I bought Skype credit which allows me to call their house or cellphones for 2¢ a minute. Calls to the US have the best prices, but calls to anywhere in the world using Skype Credit are very reasonable. If this isn’t a sign/symptom of globalization, I don’t know what is. I can call from the tip of South America to the upper reaches of North America for about the same price as a domestic call using a calling card. If you have never used Skype give it a try.
Skype was a big motivating factor in purchasing the internet tablet. I wanted to have an easy/cheap way to converse with my family back in New York. I had read good reviews for the N800 regarding the use of Skype. The N800 includes built in microphone and speakers which are great for use with skype. The Nokia N800 has actually given me clearer connections with skype than computers running Skype’s software. I am not really sure how this is possible, but Skype did write software optimized just for the Nokia N800.
I have never used an N810, but from my research I know that it is essentially the same hardware with a few modifications. The N810 adds a physical keyboard and built in GPS at the expense of an SDHC slot. To me the physical keyboard didn’t seem to add much functionality over the onscreen keyboard because the keys are still small. Since a Bluetooth keyboard can be synced when needed this doesn’t seem to be worth the extra money for the new addition. The built in GPS is nice as well, but once again a Bluetooth GPS could be synced and provide the same functionality. I decided to save some money and keep both SDHC slots by purchasing the N800 instead.
Nokia Internet Tablets run on a customized version of Linux. This means that software for the Nokia’s are open-source. It takes a little while for independent programmers to put together software whenever a new edition of the OS is released. You can download software to do just about anything you would want at Maemo.org. The OS is very customizable, but it is quite user friendly right out of the box. For most functions other than basic internet and email you will probably need to visit Maemo.org to download some software. Installing software on Linux systems is incredibly easy so this is not an issue.