It took awhile, but I finally got a Nokia 770 Internet Tablet! (Though I guess it would be called an “ultramobile” now ;-) The device arrived a couple weeks ago (those who bumped into me at SXSWi might have seen it), and I’ve been slowly trying to incorporate it into my workflow. Fortunately that’s an exciting thing to do given how fun the device is to use.
First thing first though, my 770 was “previously used”, so I did need to update the firmware. Thankfully, this was super easy: “Flash Latest Nokia Image with Mac OS X“.
With the new firmware running, the next step was to install xterm, followed by Python for Maemo. Both of these worked perfectly, and I still get a kick out of seeing a Python prompt on this thing! Of course, working on the command-line isn’t much fun using the on-screen keyboard, and since I wanted to use the 770 to take notes at meetings, I decided to buy a Nokia SU-8W Bluetooth Keyboard. The 770 needs a driver to use the keyboard, but this is also easy enough to install: maemo-bt-plugin. With a physical keyboard, I can now use vim, but the SU-8W will take a little getting used to. The key-layout is tight, and the use of the function key (‘fn’) messes with my touch-typing. Additionally, being hinged in the middle, the keyboard also doesn’t lay in your lap well. Without a table top, you end up having to balance the keyboard on one thigh while seated.
Where the 770 really shines though is in web browsing. Browsing the web on the 770 is good — really, really good. The wifi reception is fantastic, and even modern sites like Google Mail work flawlessly. Furthermore, since I leave the device in stand-by (just closing the cover), it’s one of the quickest browsers to get to when away from the desktop. I can be online with the 770 in about the time it takes for my PowerBook to wake up.
When you’re ready for more things to do with the 770, the Maemo application catalog features dozens of applications which are super easy to install over-the-air. (Maemo-Sudoku helped me through a particularly long lay-over last week.)
One thing I didn’t know about the 770 before getting one is how well it integrates with Nokia phones. When first booting the new firmware, the device asked to pair with my phone (a Nokia N90.) The N90 is now visible when browsing files and can be used to get online over GPRS. I used this feature when posting my pictures from BarCampAustin to flickr. I took the pictures with the N90, copied them over Bluetooth to the 770 using the 770’s File Manager, and posted to flickr using the 770’s browser and wifi connection! In a crunch, I’ve also exploited this feature to move files to my 770 (which doesn’t support OBEX push out-of-the-box.)
Next on the toy-list, I badly want a Bluetooth GPS unit to tie the 770 to… especially after seeing this: “Bluetooth GPS and GPSDrive on the Nokia 770!” I’m leaning toward a Nokia LD-3W (because it uses a Nokia battery, and I have plenty of those); However, that unit doesn’t seem to be shipping yet. (The older LD-1W is available, but it’s a little pricey IMO.)