Feeds

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

Booklet™ comes at a Pricelet™

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register
Bentley found in a hedge gets WW2 lump insertion
What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight
You fought hard and you saved and earned. But all of it's going to burn...
Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids
Stylish Googlephones for not-so-deep pockets
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.