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The Nokia 770

N770I've been playing with Nokias Internet Tablet, the Nokia 770, over the last couple of weeks and I've been pleasantly surprised by it.  Fantastic screen, great UI, connecting up is simple, handwriting recognition isn't at all painful and most importantly it's usable.

But no, this is not going to be a review. There are already many good reviews around the web which say most of what I would have said. No what i want to talk about here is what really makes the Nokia 770 usable; The great free software maeomo developers (maeomo is a platfrom for developing software for the Nokia770) have been releasing for it.


The Nokia 770 has barely been released (Nokia are taking orders for delivery this month) but there is already some great software available for the device. The reason for this may be that the 770s Operating System is based based on Debian (Linux) making it easier for developers to port existing Linux apps to the device. Whatever the reason, the maemo developer community has had a great start and interest seems to be growing. Their homepage already has an impressive list of available software for the 770 all of which are freeware applications. Most of these apps can be used to fill in the gaps that Nokia forgot to fill. Here are a few that I've picked out and have been using this week (After the jump).


The first thing I noticed the 770 was missing was a chat client. Chat is one of the most used 'web' features, especially by the younger generations, and GAIM was constantly connected when I was using the 770. It's strange that Nokia missed the importance of chat, though they did hit the nail on the head with the RSS reader and Internet Radio apps.

This app is basically a port of the GAIM client to maemo and it really shines on the device. I tested it with MSN, Jabber and IRC and connecting up was quick and easy.


The program is practically identical to using GAIM on a Linux machine. Tabbed viewing and connections to multiple accounts is simple to set-up and easy to navigate. The resolution of the screen means the text looks great and is easy to read (though perhaps some might find the text a bit small). This will easily become one of the most used pieces of third-party software for the Nokia 770.

Load Applet


This has been described as the "Swiss-Army Knife" applet and it really does live up to that name. This little app is packed with features including, Screenshot taking with an adjustable delay setting, a CPU Load monitor, a Memory monitor and the ability to list and kill open applications.

This app opens when the phone starts up and sits in the panel at the top of the display (next to the sound and display settings bar). Right now the latest version, which supports the more advanced features, is in Beta so users might bump into some problems when using the app. If all you want to do is take some screenshots I would recommend installing the early version which is more stable.



Nokia also decided not to include any office software on the Nokia 770, which is understandable as this wasn't what the device was designed for. However for those of you who might find a use for it, AbiSource have released a maemo version of their ABIWord software.

There is nothing fancy about the program and to be honest not much is needed. It's a basic text editor with the usual editing options which is ideal for writing quick notes or editing an existing file. I can't really see anyone doing much more than that unless they were using a Bluetooth keyboard (there is a bit of software you can install so you can use one) with the device (which again is stepping away from 'Internet Tablet' vision). Having said that though I'm sure this and other office application will be quite popular. Office programs are already coming pre-installed on some Smartphones and more and more users seem to be using them on tiny screens (compared to the 770S) so why not on the 770?



X-Terminal is a command terminal for the 770, plain and simple. Now this app will probably be useless for most 770 users and will mostly be used by developers. However for those of you who might be interested in being on the bleeding-edge of the maemo software scene then you'll need this to install and run some application (usually beta/early versions). It's definitely a must have if you want to get the most usability out of your Nokia 770.



So I had to throw a game in here as well. The pre-installed games (Chess, Mahjong and Marble) made me realise how great the screen was for gaming so I went in search of a game that was really playable. Having played Minesweeper on Windows for years I thought this maemo version would be ideal.

The game uses the full-screen mode during game-play and it looks great. Game-play is, of course , quick and simple and it is very easy to get through a few quick games to kill some time. There are 3 difficulty levels so you can either keep it quick and easy or change it so that it would need a bit more concentration.

The Rest
I hope this has been a good introduction to what is out there. It's important to say that this is only a small amount of the great software that is out there and the one I've chosen are by no means the best. When picking them I just chose the ones that caught me eye and I thought I'd like to test out.

The maemo site has a great WiKi-page of available software which I would recommend to you all. There are loads of games on there and a full PIM Suite. I'll be looking through more of the software that's out there so look out for more Nokia 770 freeware post on Mobile Tech.

December 30, 2005 by Tarek Abu-Esber | Permalink


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Thanks for this post. I gave me the confidence to install AbiWord. Then when someone sends me a .doc attachment, I can maybe read it!

Posted by: teee | 12 Feb 2006 01:18:15

i have tried downloading gaim but it's not working what do i do to get it right

Posted by: fiona | 16 May 2006 03:03:26

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