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Handhelds Portables

Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago 272

An anonymous reader writes "Here's another story of a tech gadget that arrived before its time. Nokia created a web-ready tablet running EPOC (later to be renamed as Symbian) thirteen years ago. The tablet was set to go into full production, and they actually built a thousand units just before it was canceled. The tablet was scrubbed because market research showed there wasn't demand for the device. The team got devices for themselves and the rest were destroyed. The team was then fired. The lesson: Don't try to be pioneer if you're relying on market research studies."
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Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago

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  • by poptix ( 78287 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @02:59PM (#46771667) Homepage

    Bull. Palm/Handspring devices had a ton of apps around then, I had a Handspring Prism w/ GSM module that I could IRC, SSH, browse the web and whatever else from in 2000.

    My Symbian phone not-too-long-after (Nokia 6600) had all the same apps in a more compact package. The whole 'mobile ecosystem' did NOT begin with Apple or Android.

  • Le Sigh.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by John Bokma ( 834313 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @03:04PM (#46771749) Homepage

    The Newton platform is a personal digital assistant developed by Apple Inc.. Development of the Newton platform started in 1987 and officially ended on February 27, 1998. []

    The MessagePad is the first series of personal digital assistant devices developed by Apple Computer for the Newton platform in 1993. Some electronic engineering and the manufacture of Apple's MessagePad devices was undertaken in Japan by the Sharp Corporation. The devices were based on the ARM 610 RISC processor and all featured handwriting recognition software and were developed and marketed by Apple. The devices ran the Newton OS. []

  • by linuxguy ( 98493 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @03:04PM (#46771751) Homepage

    Tablets only became popular when they got to their current form and pricing level. The older tablets and specifically this Nokia one wasn't going to be popular.

  • by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @03:57PM (#46772583)

    Why is capacitive touch so important? Multi-touch is cool but I use my Android phone all the time and for just about everything.

    It's not only about multitouch. Capacitive touchscreens are more accurate to use with a bare finger than resistive ones, which call for a stylus.

  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @04:52PM (#46773399) Homepage Journal
    Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, I saw Tablet Computer prototypes come up every couple of years. Sometimes they would even make it to market, where they hit with a resounding thud thanks to their horrible clunky OS choices, lack of applications, and hardware limitations. Apple tinkered with the iPad for years before finally releasing it, waiting until the infrastructure grew up to make the device practical. They actually worked on the iPad before the iPhone.

    Technologies that had to mature before the tablet computers became practical:
    • Wifi networking.
    • Capacitive Touchscreens -- Most early designs used a stylus, which sucks, and had poor resolution to boot
    • Low power but still acceptably fast processors -- A huge sticking point, lots of early tablets had extremely poor battery life on top of being slow
    • A touch enabled OS -- WinCE is terrible to use with a finger, and really pretty bad with a stylus. Symbian was never great. PalmOS was too narrowly focused on Palm pilots
    • Battery capacity -- Battery technology has come a long way in the past 15 years. Early attempts would use NiCad batteries, which just aren't good enough, especially with the relatively high energy consumption figures from the old chips.

    Apple didn't have a smash hit with the iPad because they were the first to the market. They won because they tinkered and waited until the technology was ready, then came out with a solid finished well integrated product instead of some halfassed "laptop without a keyboard running a cut down version of Windows".

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury