Fistful of Browser

Replace your second computer with this portable tablet

by John B. Carnett

John B. Carnett

Since the dawn of wireless, the roving Google junkie has faced two options: a bulky wireless laptop or a Web-page-cropping PDA. This fall, however, Nokia (nokia.com) will introduce a palm-size Internet gadget that surfs Web pages in full, albeit scaled-down, glory, anywhere. Measuring three by six inches, the 770 connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi or a Bluetooth cellphone. Think of it as a $350 replacement for that second PC. Navigate the 4.13-inch 800-by-480-pixel touchscreen using a stylus, then use the pan and zoom buttons to render the text readable even by granny standards. The 770 runs many of the applications you'd expect on a desktop PC--Web browser, e-mail client, RSS newsreader--as well as various media players, including Internet radio. That's because the 770 thinks it is a desktop PC: It's based on the same Debian version of Linux that powers millions of bigger computers. In keeping with Linux protocol, Nokia released the operating code to the open-source community, giving coding geeks free rein to develop additional applications. Wait until next year for the first new apps--most likely Instant Messenger and VoIP--or visit maemo.org to get the tools you need to modify your favorite programs or games to fit the tiny tablet.