Nokia's N97: Is this your future netbook?

Nokia's N97: Is this your future netbook?

Summary: Nokia on Tuesday rolled out its N97, a high-end smartphone with a 3.5 inch touch display, QWERTY keyboard and social location software to allow people to use Facebook, MySpace and other sites on the go.

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Nokia on Tuesday rolled out its N97, a high-end smartphone with a 3.5 inch touch display, QWERTY keyboard and social location software to allow people to use Facebook, MySpace and other sites on the go.

As I play with--and ponder--the netbook I have and all the tradeoffs involved I'm increasingly convinced that there's a market between the smartphone and the laptop. But the form factor just isn't there yet. I'm not sure Nokia and its dinky screen is going to do the job, but I do think the smartphone and laptop will increasingly merge into something. In fact, the Nokia N97 highlights the ongoing merger between smartphones and laptops. For the record, Nokia calls its latest device a "mobile computer." A lot of companies--including Intel and AMD--are rethinking the netbook category and 2009 is likely to bring us a push toward 2.0 devices.

Nokia's N97 has some sweet specs (statement, Techmeme)--it supports up to 48 GB of storage, has a 5 megapixel camera, music support and DVD quality video capture. The rub: The N97 isn't what you'd call affordable. It has an estimated retail price of 550 euro before taxes and subsidies. And given that Nokia doesn't ride shotgun with carriers in the U.S. that's a fully loaded $695 to someone like me. If you're in Europe you'll get an N97 subsidized so it'll be more reasonable.

Matthew Miller: Nokia N97 announced; QWERTY keyboard and touch on a Nseries device

The N97 may be the coolest gadget on the planet, but there's no way I'm paying that much for it. Overall, the N97 may be the future netbook or laptop/smartphone hybrid, but it sure isn't priced like one.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Laptops, Nokia, Smartphones

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18 comments
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  • Nokia?s N97: Is this your future netbook?

    No - the Nokia E90 already is. With the exception of a touch screen (largely an overrated capability in any phone IMHO) and totally irrelevant megapixels in the camera, it's pretty much an equivalent spec, with a better screen size and a much better keyboard.

    And it's available now. Has been for years.

    Steve Walker
    walkesp
    • RedFly

      The answer is a dump "smart phone" dock. Look at RedFly or OLO. Snap the phone in to your laptop and start working. Details:
      http://blog.ibeentoubuntu.com/2008/11/would-you-use-smartphone-dock.html
      daengbo
  • I disagree

    "I?m increasingly convinced that there?s a market between the smartphone and the laptop."

    I disagree.

    If you make the phone too big, it will be too big and clumsy to be a phone.

    If you make the laptop too small, you're going to get a cramped keyboard.

    Respectfully, I disagree. I still want a device with a full size keyboard and monitor, and a cell phone, no matter how it is designed, will never fill that role.

    Phones are nice for [b]occasional[/b] web use, but it would never, ever be my primary browsing device.

    Frankly, I never got into the whole "netbook" thing. I never saw the point of going that small with laptops.
    CobraA1
    • Point Taken - - and Modified

      Yes, the screens will be too small if the device is kept as a phone and the device too big for a phone if a larger screen is introduced.

      Two points:

      1) Blackberry's for business and iPhone/iPod Touch for personal use are roughly the same size and have been consumer accepted size factors. Anything larger than THESE will be too big.

      2) As websites keep optimizing for speedier load times and the wireless transmission gets faster, if a device is powerful enough to be able to run a standard OS (Windows, OSX, Linux, etc), why not have the dock connector be similar to current notebook docks with the ability to connect to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, USB, FW, ethernet, etc....

      A device in the above scenario would be perfect for a business to give its employee as an all-in-one solution
      JayBee51
    • Its Depends

      ... on how you conduct your business. If you are on the field or on customer premises most of the time, getting a netbook has an advantage.

      One thing that laptop manufacturer dont do yet is to make the laptop function as phone. There are some, but are more on data (WAN) functions.
      adelacuesta
      • agree

        the closest notbooks have is Skype, but that doesn't work as good a cell phone.

        They need to make a phone with a monitor hookup either via plug or dock. 48GB hardrive with half a gig of ram would run great as a mini laptop.
        Pembo
  • RE: Nokia's N97: Is this your future netbook?

    Not sure about anyone else but this looks like a total ripoff of the O2 XDA phone. It alomst looks like a clone...
    cams0ft
    • I Agree

      I have an O2 XDA and it looks pretty much the same to me. Pricing is similiar as well.
      SoapyFox
    • what are you talking about

      According to their website, XDA phones are a range of phones that O2 sell running MS windows mobile with various tech specs.
      Nokia N97 is a phone running S70,the Symbian OS now owned by Nokia. Where exactly is the rip-off?
      teuchter
  • I don't think so

    I personnaly already find thaty the Asus Eee PC 701 is a bit too small thus i don't think that i will buy anything smaller than a 9" netbook, anytime soon.
    This said,the N97 is an interesting evolution of the NSeries smartphone.
    It is too bad that it doesn't have a better photos and video capabilities, but i think that there will be soon a Nokia camera phone flagship,so...
    timiteh
  • RE: Nokia's N97: Is this your future netbook?

    It's a pocket PC that also happens to be a cellphone.

    Bud Light I Said.
    no_zd_user_name
    • Bud Light?

      Try Warsteiner Dunkel for a change of pace. :)
      bricar2
  • RE: Nokia's N97: Is this your future netbook?

    For now if what you call a netbook is a 12 inch screened laptop, then yes I am on board. The smallest screen I can deal with for browsing is 12 inch. I would only use a cell phone for browsing in an emergency.

    I think that eventually with a flexible folding touch display you will have a device that could be both. I am waiting for a 24 inch folding screen that folds down into a cell phone size when not used as a big screen.
    mr1972
  • Nokia's N97: Is this your future?

    The N series is designed for multimedia purposes so this will be targeted at camera/phone/messenger/facebook totting teens to keep in contact with their "friends" on the go, competing with iPhone and BB for the Xma$ rush.

    An E series verion with a better processor, memory and BB Storm interface would be better for business. I would never buy a netbook unless I wanted to impress people with small, latest gadgets - I couldn't work on one!

    What I want to know is when are we getting Nokia mail to compete with BB and Exchange ActiveSync on the phone? Probably only in Europe, if ever but why did they miss that boat?
    gbirmin
  • Gadgetry: ...and we're off, again!

    I've been using devices as these since the HP 95 LX and as I see it Netbooks are for students to carry around at campus, webpads for quiz shows in front of the home TV and Smartphones are just plain gadgetry as the Palm Pilot used to be. When the sleves are rolled up in the meeting room it's whiteboard, pen and paper. You just can't beat that, right now.

    What I need after all these years of active use is an 4G omni-mobile, web 2.0-apped, SSD-storaged, in the format of the SE W7xx-series or the Nokia N85 with attachable Bluetoothed Digital Ink-paper and a likewise lightweight small-sized projector as side-orders. Then, and only then, will I kick-back on pen and paper.

    Until then, I'll toil-along with my SE W760 for availability, my Nokia Communicator for information-on-the-go and whatever paper available for some real work.

    // Scallag
    scallag
  • RE: Nokia's N97: Is this your future netbook?

    I disagree that a phone with a decent size screen .. say 3 to 4 inch widescreen with as large a qwerty keyboard as can be fitted to such a phone (maybe even a fold out type) is too big and clumsy. I would rather have a biggish phone in my pocket that can give a reasonably readable rendition of web pages and a keyboard that is not too small ... than carry a laptop as well. The N97, the HTC Touch Pro and the Sony Xperia are still just a little bit small to access the internet comfortably. I would gladly put up with a 25 per cent increase in size from these models..
    mike_magee
  • RE: Nokia's N97: Is this your future netbook?

    nokia is amazing hands down. better than modo, samsung, htc by far. won't ever beat iphone but that's a given. i bought mine a long time ago, i love it but it's getting run down. was looking at ebay and another site called www.gsmallover.com but I'm not sure, maybe i should just go into the store i think that would probably be the safest option. anyways love the nokia, can't imagine what the N98 will be like. i'm sure that won't be for a long time tho.
    onetruth7797
  • RE: Nokia's N97: Is this your future netbook?

    Nokia is amazing hands down. better than modo, samsung, htc by far. won't ever beat iphone but that's a given. i bought mine a long time ago, i love it but it's getting run down. was looking at ebay and another site called www.gsmallover.com but I'm not sure, maybe i should just go into the store i think that would probably be the safest option. anyways love the nokia, can't imagine what the N98 will be like. i'm sure that won't be for a long time tho.
    onetruth7797