Feeds

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

Booklet™ comes at a Pricelet™

Next gen security for virtualised 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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.