Nokia unveils Linux-based Web device

By : |May 25, 2005 0

Lucas van Grinsven

PARIS: Nokia unveiled a pocket-sized Web browser for
wireless broadband networks, which is the Finnish firm’s first Linux-based
device and its first product without a built-in mobile phone.

The new device, dubbed Nokia 770, has a four inch horizontal touch screen
that can display normal Internet pages.

It will sell for $350 excluding VAT or 350 euros including VAT, the world’s
biggest mobile phone maker said ahead of a Linux trade show.

The product marks a significant strategy expansion for Nokia which is
venturing outside its mainstay cellular phone business. Nokia aims to sell the
device through broadband home Internet providers and directly to consumers on
its Internet web site.

“We’re launching a completely new product category,” said Janne
Jormalainen, Nokia’s vice president for convergence products at its multimedia
devices division.

The device is aimed at consumers looking for an affordable extra Internet
screen in the house that they can also carry with them and use at wireless
hotspots outside the home or connect to a cell phone through a Bluetooth
wireless link.

It will be available in the third quarter.

The product will run entirely on open source software, including a standard
Linux operating system also used in desktop computers, marking more unchartered
waters for Nokia. “Using standard desktop Linux means innovation is
happening faster (than in Linux versions for small devices). We will be very
fast in implementing this innovation,” Jormalainen said.

Several of the innovations already in the pipeline are upgrades by early 2006
to enable Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) calls and instant messaging.
Anyone who buys the device now will be able to upgrade the software next year.

VoIP phone calls from this portable device may cannibalise cell phone voice
revenues from Nokia’s main customers which are all of the world’s biggest mobile


Nokia will also launch and support an open source community Website,
encouraging software developers to hack into the device and improve the product.

A rival to Microsoft’s Windows, Linux is an open source operating system,
meaning that the software will be freely available to everybody.

Nokia aims to be competitive by implementing innovations ahead of
competitors, while benefiting from its huge scale — it makes one of every three
mobile phones sold in the world and the total mobile phone market is expected to
be well over 700 million units in 2005.

Consumers will be able to store content downloaded from the Internet on
removable MMC memory cards, or transfer it to a desktop computer with a USB
connection or Bluetooth.

Nokia has been looking for growth opportunities outside the strict boundaries
of the mobile phone industry, first with its N-Gage gaming phone and later with
a multimedia device which can double up as a television and video device, but
these have been slow to catch on and always came with integrated a mobile phone.

This new device, which took Nokia two years to develop, is a stab at the
market for portable computers.

Last year 189 million PCs were sold worldwide, and by 2008 market researchers
expect more than half of all sales will be portable computers rather than

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