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In Defense of the 770

Posted: June 16th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Linux, Mobile, Open Source | 50 Comments »

Nancy Gohring was able to get her hands on a Nokia 770 prototype the other day at a press event in Helsinki. She posted a review on Mobile Pipeline and cross posted a shorter review on Wi-Fi Network News. Every postitive thing she said about the device hinted at the fact that she hated it because it was dog slow. One must remember that the processor behind the 770 is a 220MHz ARM, and that a 220MHz arm just isn’t a 2GHz Pentium 4. Having said that, I’m pretty sure that the final device will be a bit zippier than the one she played with. I’m also pretty sure that the boot time will be resolved on the final device and will be quick enough.

I also think that a 800×480 high resolution screen in a device that size is quite an accomplishment and shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s not a 15 inch LCD, but it’s also extremely portable. While the operating system won’t officially include VoIP and instant messaging until the Internet Tablet 2006 update, there is a tutorial on porting Gaim to Maemo on the website, and I know of several people working on VoIP, SIP, and other communications programs for the platform. Silky, a secure internet chat client, has already been ported to Maemo, the development environment for devices like the 770. My guess is that there will be a handful of communications programs available for the 770 at launch time.

While the press junket might be the first time members of the press have been able to play with a Nokia 770, it has been shown (and I believe demoed) at the Linux World Summit in New York and Guadec 6 in Stuttgart.

In conclusion, I think there’s a ton of potential in this device. While the 770 is never going to be a fullsize notebook in terms of performance, I’m pretty sure that the speed and responsiveness will be better on the final device than the one Nancy was able to play with. There are a lot of people around the world working very hard to make sure that the Nokia 770 and the platform it is built on are as solid and fast as can be. I’m definitely looking forward to purchasing my developer device as soon as it’s available and testing a bunch of apps on the device.


50 Comments on “In Defense of the 770”

  1. 1 Frank Koehntopp said at 7:06 am on June 16th, 2005:

    Matt – I’m sorry, I just have to disagree – this is 2005, there’s no reason I can think of why we stall have to cope with prototype like devices that are slow as hell. There sure is enough processor power to make something like this adequately fast.

  2. 2 Matt Croydon said at 8:52 am on June 16th, 2005:

    That’s funny, I was thinking “this is 2005” in the car this morning after writing this. I agree completely, it should be faster than described, but I’m thinking (hoping?) that it will be by the time it hits the virtual shelves.

  3. 3 Joona said at 3:44 am on June 17th, 2005:

    I don’t understand why people always insist that if there exists a better hardware part ( like some 600Mhz Intel Arm mobile processor instead of some other 220MHz Arm) then what is used in the device, there can be no excuse for the choice and the device is automatically doomed for failure. If the device had 600Mhz instead of 220MHz, 1. It wouldn’t be nearly as cheap, 2. Battery would get drained much faster, 3. 1. and 2. quarantees it is much harder to sell to Internet operators, large retailers, etc.

    Besides, Nokia uses this same processor in other products as well, which means that the processor is already successfully tested, implemented and in mass production, which furthermore reduces the cost.

    Look at the size of the device, it is so small it is almost the size of some smart phones. It isn’t a notebook replacement, it is something else, you cannot cram everything in it and expect to get a perfect device.

  4. 4 Piotr said at 1:02 am on June 18th, 2005:

    But I think that 600Mhz processor should be used. I’d like to pay more for faster processor which can also run on slower speeds to save juice.
    I have zaurus 760 with 400Mhz ARM and it runs pdaXrom which is cutted down X11 linux enviroment. I am using firefox on that device (sic!) and it run very well, but the screen is 640×480.
    On standard battery it runs for almost 8 hours!

  5. 5 Koen said at 12:40 pm on June 19th, 2005:

    Before everybody joins the MHz bandwagon, please keep in mind that an OMAP1710 (in the 770) and a PXA2xx (in the ipaqs and zauri) are very different beasts. The omap has a dsp to do all the fancy multimedia stuff, while the pxa has to do all that on it’s own.
    The software on the 770 can be made a lot faster by using softfloat (like OpenZaurus uses) instead of hardfloat. We’ll have to wait for debian-arm to switch to the new EABI to give us softfloat. You can get up to 50 times better performance on floating point operations, depending on the code used. It’s still no magic bullet, but it can really make a different for stuff use fp, like gtk for scaling stuff.
    Random fact: the ipaq 3870 (206MHz armv4) can paint 2 times faster to it’s fb as the h5550 (400MHz armv5), so raw CPU MHz doesn’t tell the whole story.

  6. 6 Mike Cane said at 7:32 pm on June 27th, 2005:

    I didn’t find it slow at all.

    http://jkontherun.blogs.com/jkontherun/2005/06/jkontherun_gues.html?

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