Many years ago,I found myself in possession of a Nokia N810 internet tablet. With it’s smaller screen and pull-out keyboard, this is what tablets looked like before tablets were a thing, and I spent many a happy (or frustrating) hour trying to connect to a WiFi hotspot long enough to send a email.
Of course, everyone uses Android now and, after Nokia crashed and burned back in 2011, my phone could increasingly do everything the N810 could do, and then some, and I found myself using it less and less. Eventually, the battery started dying on me and the device ended up in a drawer.
More recently, I discovered Battery Champion, a site that sells batteries. Batteries for everything, including the N810, so I thought I would see if I could revive the device.
I now have the tablet up and running and, in many ways, it feels like looking back at a future that never was. Nokia devices have always been well engineered and they were certainly well placed to dominate the emerging smartphone and tablet spaces. It was only through management incompetence that they managed to lose their lead.
The world has moved on, of course, and it is probably inevitable that a device built in 2008 will feel a bit clunky now. The keyboard certainly proved to be a big surprise. It’s a physical keyboard that slides out which sounded like a great idea back in the day, but I found myself really struggling to use it. The keys are too small and painfully unresponsive. In fact I was intending to write this post on the N810 but after two paragraphs, the keyboard got the better of me.
It’s slow, too, compared to modern devices. This, I think, is more a reflection on the way in which websites have become so much more bloated over the years rather than on the device itself. Indeed, watching any page load is a revelation in terms of just how many calls to external sites and services are made.
The battery life, on the other hand, is still impressive. It can go up to ten days between charges which, combined with the fact that it is compact enough to fit into a pocket, gives the N810 a level of portability that the manufacturers of more modern tablets can only dream of.
Of course, all of the software on the tablet is about a decade out of date. And, with this device being no longer supported, many of the repositories are no longer available so upgrading it — if possible at all — will be something of a challenge.
And if I do manage to find some reasonably current software, I will then need to figure out a use for it.