Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What is old is new again (Tablet Companions)

Nokia let the tablet segment slip out of their portfolio. After 3 generations of Internet Tablets, the form factor that started Maemo is now a distant memory.

Maemo is alive and kicking, for now, in the superb N900 mobile computer. However, that 4-5" wifi/BT enabled tablet that got so many of us interested in Maemo has seen no recent attention from Finland.

This article on Blackberry's rumoured tablet companion actually got me upset. Nokia had a good chance at being the segment leader if they had kept that product line fresh. Instead, they chose to focus on bringing Maemo to a cellular phone device.

Don't get me wrong, I love the N900. As a convergence device, it is fabulous...mobile computer combined with cellular phone. A great media player, best-in-class VoIP and IM integration, killer hardware, etc.

But it seems that other smartphone manufacturers are starting to branch out to 'accessorize' their flagships. Although the iPad is not technically a companion to an iPhone, you'll likely see those two together in fanboys' European purses. Now Blackberry is rumoured to have a companion tablet in the works, which tethers to your Blackberry smartphone.

Come on! We had this 5 years ago in Maemo. Nokia just decided to abandon that offering, leaving the field open for competition to swoop in.

I like my N800 tablet, but it is sadly in permanent storage in my daypack. Not because it is not functional, but because OS2008 does feel noticeably clunky compared to Fremantle.

MeeGo appears to be one avenue in which we can get the tablet back. But with NOKIA on the label? I am not hopeful. Prove me wrong, Nokia. In the meantime, we may have to watch tablets emerge from here and there, while Nokia finds more reasons to reinvent themselves year after year.

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