Nokia Debuts Phone-less, Linux-Based Handheld Internet Tablet

Nokia announced Wednesday it will ship in the third quarter a non-cell phone, handheld tablet for Web-browsing over a wireless broadband connection. The device is Nokiais first true Internet appliance.

The Nokia 770 comes with a 4.1-inch display, weighes half a pound, is three-quarters of an inch thick, 5.6 inches wide and 3.1 inches deep.

The tablet (see photo below) uses the Opera browser and comes with a stylus to tap on a virtual screen. It is based on the open-source Linux operating system rather than the Symbian platform Nokia uses for "smart" mobile phones.

Priced at US$350, the tablet will be marketed at those wanting true mobility to surf the Web and collect e-mail. The device is designed primarily to use at home, though its Wi-Fi transmitter can also connect with public and commercial hot spots.

Nokia says the device is not intended as a rival to Apple Computeris iPodiPod or other digital media devices.

The tablet doesnit have a built-in hard drive, but instead 128 megabytes of on-board flash memory. It does come with a memory card slot to add additional storage and a USB port to connect with a PC and a Bluetooth transmitter that can then be used to connect to the Internet via a cellular phone.

Tablet PCs make up only about 1% of laptops sold and have been a technology group Microsoft has been pushing hard to develop and sell over the past two years.

At $350, some find Nokiais device expensive. "What does it really do that people cannot already do today with a (laptop) or with a PDA that has integrated Wi-Fi?" commentedlaptop analyst Samir Bhavnani at researcher Current Analysis to USA TODAY