August 14, 2006

the nokia 770


The groovy cats at Nokia just sent me a free Nokia 770 to keep. All they asked in return was for my honest feedback. I assume they would prefer me to blog about it as well, but they didn't make that a precondition [a very smart move on their part, if you ask me]. No matter, I'm blogging it anyway. I have a few buddies who work at Nokia, so I'm happy to aid their cause etc.

Basically, the Nokia 770 is a palm-sized internet browser, which connects via both wi-fi and my cellphone [I naturally prefer the former, because unlike the cellphone, it's free]. It has no keyboard, instead it relies on a stylus [Om Malik says it works great with a Bluetooth keyboard, and says the browser is great as well]. It also comes with a set of headphones and a mike, which allows you to do VOIP and internet radio.

I don't expect somethig the size of a pocket calculator to have the same functionality and ease-of-use as say, a Tablet PC. So yeah, it takes a wee while to get used to, but it's not a big deal. Generally I'd say it works very well, and not too frustrating compared to a lot of palm-sized gizmoes out there.

Also, I've been travelling a lot these last few months, and schlepping a Tablet PC around town all the time gets very tiresome. So for someone who is on the move all the time, this little baby is a very welcome travelling companion. It's a great litte thing to have while waiting in an airport lounge, or sitting in a Starbuck's. It also sends and receives e-mail via POP e-mail, so all in all, Rock on.

Four things that do concern me:

1. There's no way to import my bookmarks from my PC. I like my booksmarks. Having to rebuild my list from scratch is a real schelepp.

2. For whatever reason, it doesn't seem to want to open my Gmail page. That's a SERIOUS flaw, because Gmail is what I use. Not being able to check my e-mail is a bit of a dealbreaker. That being said, it might be something I'm doing wrong. Perhaps there are some kind Nokia folk reading this, who might be able to help me solve this problem? [UPDATE: I got the Gmail to work, thanks to tip from Alan Bradburne. Thanks, Alan!]

3. It has a little RSS reader built in, but to add the URLs you have to cut & paste, which is a real schlepp. Their cause would be better served if they added a little orange RSS button [a single-button-press solution] in their interface. This to me is the biggest weakness in the offering... but I suppose it's easy enough for them to fix down the line.

4. I wish it had Skype, but it's not the end of the world if it doesn't. It does have Google chat, though.

So besides these four little nits, I'm delighted with it.

It retails in the UK for £245.00. Thanks to Nokia for letting me try it out. Rock on.

[Bonus Link:] Tom Coates, unlike me, is not "for sale". Here he talks about his take on the ethics of weblogging. Good stuff.

Posted by hugh macleod at August 14, 2006 5:47 AM | TrackBack

Sweet. I've been drooling over the 770 for ages so it's good to hear your thoughts.

I always drop to the mobile version of gmail when a) the browser sux or b) connectivity is awful. It works just really well on any small-screen browser.

So as a temporary measure, try
Hope it works/helps.

Posted by: Alan Bradburne at August 14, 2006 8:28 AM

Ironically it's Nokia's offer to send me a 770 that got me thinking about this particular issue. I completely wanted to play with one, but was very uncomfortable about the idea of people sending me things in order that I would talk about them on my site. I made it a precondition of them sending it to me that I wouldn't talk about it on my site, and they seemed comfortable with that, so there is supposedly one coming in the post.

To be honest, I still feel a bit weird about the whole thing and I'm not sure I did the right thing, but I don't really think there's a significant difference between the way we've handled this one so far - you declared their gift, made sure it wasn't a precondition to write about it etc. The one bit I worry about is really whether or not it deforms our opinions or to what extent a pressure arises to act in a certain way just in case the gifts start to dry up. That's the stuff I'm trying to avoid at all costs.

Posted by: Tom Coates at August 14, 2006 8:46 AM

Hey Tom, thanks for the comment.

I totally see your point. I worry about these things myself, but as long as one is being upfront from the start, I don't see the problem. I'm not like Scoble, who gets FLOODS of offers to try new things out, so the amount concerned is not enough for me to worry about the freebies drying up.

Secondly, as a marketing blogger, I have a professional interest in seeing how all this schtuff works... from a moral, ethical AND pratical standpoint. So I like to give it a go, whenever I can.

Posted by: Hugh MacLeod at August 14, 2006 8:56 AM

Re: Tom Coates. Yes, he's right that it is a troublesome course to steer. I think your first paragraph puts the rest of what you say in its proper context. Your reader can think "He's been bought" or "Never mind how he got one, what does he think".
If, instead, people found out later that you'd received payment [in kind , the gadget itself] to write something [positive] then your credibility is sunk forever; and some would say, deservedly so.

Posted by: James O'Neill at August 14, 2006 9:17 AM

Agreed, James. Credibiltiy is all.

I believe if I caveat what I write with "They gave this for me for free, and I'm writing about it because I want to, not because I have to", my readers are smart enough to draw their own conclusions.

Posted by: Hugh MacLeod at August 14, 2006 9:54 AM


Just save your bookmarks to an HTML file, publish it, and then presto - you can access it from the Nokia!

Posted by: John at August 14, 2006 10:01 AM

A very fine line indeed. On this occasion you handled it well (i.e., open, frank and full disclosure). As an ancient guy I'm not always hip to new ideas and tech advances. Thus your post was a huge personal bonus as I got to show my darling wife who "loves" tech toys your post and the cool picture of the Nokia 770. She loves it! Rock on Hugh!

Posted by: Sheamus at August 14, 2006 1:37 PM

Was at the Nokia store last week and had the same thought regarding the RSS reader. Fun gadget to play with, though.

The Nokia store, incidentally, was pretty fab in that like-a-restaurant-coveted-by-the-supporting-cast-of-American-Psycho kind of way.

Posted by: Phil Gomes at August 14, 2006 2:45 PM

(first off i'm bias because i'm doing some work for nokia right now and they sent me a free N80)

With that said, I'm glad to see them engaging with the blogosphere like this. It provides an alternative channel for product news as opposed to anemic coverage of new products on cnet. A friend of mine who works for Nokia has a blog at and he's always playing with the latest and greatest, and has even been experimenting with putting videos from the phones on youtube.

Because blogs are generally very personal, and build reputation and social equity over time, I'm just not concerned or worried that bloggers that I trust and respect are going to lose there mind over a free phone. If I come across a new blog with a glowing report about a new product I will treat that with as much skepticism as I would an infomercial.



Posted by: Karl Long at August 14, 2006 3:52 PM

hrumph, the last thing I got free took penicillin and 3 month's abstinance to cure. I did not blog abouit it. I slinked into my cave and stayed in the dark until someone tempted me out with a TV remote!

Posted by: Robert at August 14, 2006 6:38 PM

i have heard there's no inbuilt GPRS or 3G data in it, which is needed to use the Nokia 770 with another device???. Dose this phone have SyncML in it as I use a free online service to backup, manage and share my phone book and calendars.

Posted by: Charles at August 15, 2006 1:59 PM

Good for Nokia! They have really been embracing bloggers. I know they gave out a bunch of phones to Canadian bloggers a while back.

Now if only the automotive industry would follow suit. ;)

Posted by: David Armano at August 15, 2006 6:42 PM

A hidden gem on the Nokia 770 is the sketch application (Utilities-> Sketch). Put the app in full screen mode and I'm sure you have a nice portable environment to draw your cartoons --- much more convenient than the tablet PC!

Posted by: Anthony Starks at August 16, 2006 4:45 AM

as for your bookmarks, couldn't you just use something like delicious, and then access them via your already-connected wifi?

...I suppose it would take the initial pain of setting up, but I think it was worth it.

Posted by: m at August 16, 2006 6:22 AM

Re: RSS -- you can import OPML files as a way to at least kick start your subscription list

Posted by: Anthony Starks at August 16, 2006 5:08 PM

I think it would make more sense if a company sent you something related to wines or tailoring...this seems a bit out of the blue.

My only gripe with the Nokia? Short battery life. Same problems with the UMPCs, though the 770 is more affordably priced.

I'll stick with my X41 for now until a decent compromise comes out.

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