Tag Archives: netbook

My Time at the MeeGo Conference 2010

I’ve had a few days now since the first-ever MeeGo Conference ended to jettison the jet lag and sort my thoughts, so it’s time to run through experiences there.  This will come from a purely personal viewpoint; later I’ll do a more objective analysis of the event.  Apologies in advance for the epic length.

Preparation

I had a “Birds of a Feather” (BoF) workshop scheduled as well as a lightning talk, so there was obvious work involved for the presentations.  The lightning talk, an introduction to MeeGo Greeters, was easy to work up.  The BoF on user engagement was more difficult, as I had never conducted one before at the conference level.  After kicking ideas around I decided to wait until arriving in Dublin and draw out the thoughts of friends and especially my two co-panelists Timo and Leinir.  Since this was meant as a brainstorm I figured it might not even hurt to completely wing it.  Barring, though, a frustrating tendency to occasionally freeze into a mute on stage or fail to edit a long talk down to lightning class.

But most of my time beforehand was spent drawing requested custom characters for the MeeGo community.  Dubbed “Meegons“, the little things turned out to be immensely popular, particularly the week before I had to leave.  I had decided to create badge and device stickers of them for as many people as I could.  As luck would have it, high humidity made printing a real pain just prior to my flight out, but by some miracle I got everything done that I could.   Continue reading

Nokia World 2009

Nokia World 2009 in brief

There’s been plenty of coverage already on this eye-popping event so I’ll limit my analysis to just a few points.

Nokia N900

The rundown:

This impressive Maemo-fueled touchscreen phone (aka mobile computer) is the new flagship device and comes laden with highly compelling features.  Even though I find the small screen size disappointing I understand the politics behind the design decision.  This is after all a phone more than tablet.  Rumors combined with my own common sense continue to encourage me that this is indeed part of a product platform and we will ulitimately see some sort of “slate” variant (a la N800)… by early next year at the latest (possibly CES?).

My verdict:

I would buy this multifaceted device save one factor: advertised price.  I won’t quote any numbers (there’s already too much confusion over this) BUT if it comes to the US at much over $400 unsubsidized, I’ll wait.

Nokia Booklet netbook

The rundown:

This is the product I personally find more exciting as it represents a new adventure for Nokia.  The brand will finally sit on shelf space alongside Dell, Acer, HP and others which should help further Nokia’s recognition as a new player in internet services.  This will be solidified by the option of a cell radio modem (for data only) and the future placement of Windows applications on Ovi Store.  That’s right, penguin lovers, the netbook will come with Windows 7 installed by default.  Reformat and repurpose with the OS of your choice.  ;)

My verdict:

This is another gadget that would easily be on my list (my youngest son is in the market for a netbook) were it not for a higher-than-expected retail price of ~$800.  Although as usual Nokia has packed this portable PC with useful features like HDMI output and a purported 12 hour battery charge(!), at typically twice the cost of entry netbooks this is a bit prohibitive.  A subsidized version from my cellular service provider might help.

Another showstopper for some is the hard-soldered 1 gigabyte of system memory.  If this is indeed limited, that means no heavy business usage.  Of course, many could argue that this is a consequence of the 120 gigaybte hard drive and 10.1 inch screen anyway.  Cramped viewing real estate and storage space notwithstanding, the netbook does come with a version of Microsoft Office except that, curiously, it is a 60 day trial.  Buying the full version of course increases the actual product cost.

In appearance this aluminum-bodied product holds its own against the best netbook or notebook designs out there, including Apple’s.  Kudos to Nokia’s industrial design team!

X Series phones

The rundown:

The trademarking of new series designators C and X had a lot of tongues wagging prior to the show.  There was plenty of wild speculation over just what this advent might mean.  Pundits who identified the X designator as a likely series of new music phones were right on target, as Nokia announced the X3 and X6 music-oriented devices.  I’m impressed with the appearances and features of both (moreso with the X6).  Both will be available at Christmas.

My verdict:

Another product line perfect for my teenage sons.  The X3 is even affordable at a listed 115 Euros.  I think this line has potential!

  
Summary

I found the atmosphere around and during this event to be more electric than last year’s event.  Nokia does seem to be seriously trying to battle the growing skepticism over its high-end prospects.  I am just concerned that pricing may interfere; let’s hope there’s a significant difference between proposed retail and actual when these sleek beauties all hit store shelves.

There were other announcements such as formal acknowledgment of the N97 Mini but nothing else I felt compelled to cover here.  Visit the official Nokia World 2009 site for more in-depth coverage especially as the event continues.

The event itself has rekindled my faith a bit.  Now if Ovi can just get the same degree of much-needed attention, maybe Nokia can stifle the doubters…

The Case of the Phantom Tablet

In the past several years we’ve seen many companies offer up their vision of The Next Big Thing in personal computing.  The goal to get PCs increasingly portable is one admirable attempt but any drastic changes to the interface status quo tend to be met with consumer resistance.  Screens and keyboards can only get so small before they become cute but useless novelties.

One exception is netbooks, the currently most compelling segment of portable personal computing.  These little-brother laptops are rapidly cannibalizing more conventional computing platforms.  Their attributes of low cost and high portability combined with a reasonable attempt to maintain usable interface real estate has contributed to a truly impressive success story.

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