Nokia N800 Gets Skype, But Still Can't Save the Tablet Form Factor
If you've been waiting since it was announced at CES '07, the wait is finally over. Nokia's foray into the tablet PC got a communications boost with Skype on Wednesday. The Wi-Fi enabled tablet PC by Nokia still finds itself in an uncomfortable position: not quite a Pocket PC or Smartphone, but it's not really a PC either. Let's face it, this has been the bane of the Tablet PC and Microsoft's new UMPC - since the form was developed it's crashed spectacularly in flames.
Nokia added Skype to give its N800 Tablet PC a communications edge, providing a distinct albeit inferior alternative to cell phone communications. Skype is really just an instant messenger, but it has extra features like Skype Out. Your Nokia N800 connects to a Wi-Fi hotspot and you're able to use Skype instant messenger. Anyone running a skype client can text you with instant messages or you can even share voice messages through your Skype clients. If you subscribed to Skype Out (which is very cheap, but not entirely free) you can take communications one step further and make an outbound phone call through the Internet with no long distance charges or expensive mobile network fees.
It's a great feature, but not enough to save the Tablet PC. Skype allows you to download various versions of its client specifically for Pocket PCs and Smartphones with various operating systems. That includes Linux, the operating system used by the Nokia's N800. What OS would you expect on a Finnish device? The N800's Kernal was developed by Linus Torvalds himself. As nice as it all sounds, you can still find cell phones that can do just about everything a Tablet PC does, and inside a far slimmer form factor. Outside a niche market the Tablet PC still isn't likely to take off.