Nokia N800 – going where ?

April 4, 2007 at 11:34 pm 1 comment

Have been playing in the last few weeks with the N800. First i got the email / Google Talk to work…. then got some of my photos through the memory card… and finally got RNWK Rhapsody on it. Next is getting the Gizmo Project on it.

Nokia is treating it as an experminet. Testing out two new models:

The first is leveraging the open source community (and Linux) which develops most of the services and the user experience for mass market devices. Its not a complete open-source. Nokia maintains control over the user expirience as it directly ties to the consumer experience == > brand association as well as maintaining a barrier to entry.

The second experiment is the form factor: touch only, Navigation only keys. How will user respond to this form factor? It has many similarities to the iPhone – which makes you wonder whether the whole mobile industry is going to be in touch only devices in a few years.

I think the N800 can go into two very compelling paths:

The first – and most obvious one – is the mobile space – add GSM radio so it becomes dual mode, and you have a great VOIP device. No operator in the way to mess around and block services or control software (re my previous posts on US industry structure). Actually – there is one virtual operator – who can now make money on the services enabled on the device – and this is Nokia – which if you didn’t notice is no experimenting with distributing directly to consumers.

The second direction is a home device. The assumption here is that your cell phone is not going to be the *only* device we use at home, but rather there will be multiple new devices in each household. Imagine the N800 with a few more applications – one that let me easily (using finger navigation) easily view my different photos from the different home computers and servers. And then another application that let you select music and play it on different devices within the home. And yes, a universal remote similar to what we have seen Logitech coming up with. The hardware for these devices is getting dirt cheap. QVGA LCD at under $10, WiFi+App processor+MM accelerator at not much more. Memory and battery. $99 in retail is not that far away.

Another way of thinking about it – in 2010 – if we take stock of a digital household. What devices are we going to see? If we imagine a household of two adults mid 30s and two kids 10 and 15 years old kids. Is it going to be four cell phones and that ll? or will we see a few WiFi devices with a small LCD that connect us to our digital life? I think the latter is the likely scenario – which is also a great back-of-envelope calculation of this huge new market opportunity.


Entry filed under: Devices, Mobile, Nokia, Open Source, Technology.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Ghoop  |  April 5, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    I agree with your final conclusion. We develop and build whole house DVR systems and I am trying to get my hands on a N800 to experiment with. To me this looks like a match made in heaven. We already have a user interface that is driven from the web server on the system and have been using PDAs as a control device. These work fine, but the lack of screen “real estate” and the need for a stylus is a disadvantage. The N800 with larger screen and more responsive finger touch looks ideal…I also like the camera facility and the opportunity to stream media from our server to the control device. The wifi connectivity also gives whole house coverage and removes the need for the annoying IR repeaters everywhere.
    So, all I need to do now, is get hold of one to experiment with.


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