Feeds

Nokia's £500 netbook: What were they thinking?

Booklet™ comes at a Pricelet™

Security for virtualized datacentres

Nokia's netbook is beautifully designed and beautifully finished, and the battery lasts all day. It's "more aspirational*, more thin, and more stylish" than the average netbook, according to its European marketing manager.

But at £500 it's also twice as expensive as many other netbooks - and heavier. What were they thinking?

There's little doubt that the Booklet™, as it's called, is a great looking piece of kit. It's Nokia taking an Apple approach to the market, but it's more the Apple of Jean Louis Gassee than Steve Jobs.

When the witty Frenchman ran Apple Computer's product development in the late 1980s, no expenses were spared on design and build - resulting in price points being missed. But with profit margins of 50 per cent and a pretty unique proposition (if you needed to DTP, you really needed an Apple), it could charge what it liked, and still find a few buyers.

It's a quite different world in the commodity market of bargain basement netbooks. Dell's advertising shows colourful notebooks dropping out of a sweets bag - indicating that they're cheap, cheerful and disposable. You might buy one not because you need one, but as a treat.

By contrast, Nokia has wrapped the Booklet™ in lavish packaging - throwing down the gauntlet to the Golden Goldfish crowd.

The Golden Goldfish Award

The Golden Goldfish - honouring inane unboxings

The art of over-engineering

This Booklet™ is brushed aluminium, fanless, and has a nice, roomy keyboard. All credit to the design team for this Macbook homage, the black glass surrounding the fairly ordinary 10" display, and sculpted aluminium chassis. The screen is smaller than you expect, about the only thing that felt wrong with the design. There's attention to the detail right down to the keyboard lettering.

If the hallmark of a netbook is that you can pick it up with one hand, and throw it around, look elsewhere. This isn't what you'd want to do with a Booklet™. In order to achieve the touted 12 hour battery life (or eight hours, if you're pounding the WiFi), Nokia packed in a 16-cell 3,840mAh battery which adds to the weight: 1.25kg. That's 2.75lb in old money - half a pound heavier than the old Thinkpad X23/30/31 series.

Other than the power, the specifications aren't remarkable. An HSDPA 3G SIM is built in, although this is hardly unusual these days. Nor is an HDMI port - Dell has one of those on its Inspiron mini 10, a model which also boasts a TV tuner. Other than that it's Windows 7, and a couple of Ovi widgets.

Performance disappoints too, as you'd expect running Windows 7 in 1GB of memory. The Ovi Suite takes 30 seconds to fire up. My Computer reported it scored 2.2 on the compatibility test. Maybe it'll improve nearer ship time, or with more memory.

So is the Booklet™ a vanity product, designed simply to draw attention to Nokia's return to the PC business with a large splash? Maybe it's not completely bonkers. Nokia evidently hopes operators will subsidise the device, and treat it as a phone - you buy it on hire purchase, effectively. Attractive as it is, I can't see many people forking out the full €550, no matter how stylish it is.

For the rest of the specs, hop over here. ®

Bootnote

Um, what does a Booklet™ aspire to? Apart from more memory.

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share
Not four. Point four. Count yer booty again, Microsoft
Getting to the BOTTOM of the great office seating debate
Belay that toil, me hearty, and park your scurvy backside
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE
Rival electronic giant tries to iron out allegations
Your chance to WIN the WORLD'S ONLY HANDHELD ZX SPECTRUM
Reg staff not allowed to enter, god dammit
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.