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View Full Version : Nokia 770 Internet Appliance as Slimserver Controller



bklaas
2005-05-25, 14:12
I really like the slimserver web interface, but don't always have a laptop on or near my Squeezebox. I find the remote control/LED display method of queuing songs functional, but a bit clunky.

To that end, I've been searching for a reasonably-priced device that was "a little more than a PDA and a little less than a PC". I had a few requirements in mind-- runs a web browser, has a touchscreen, almost-instantaneous bootup, and won't make me squint at an ultra-teeny display.

this device that Nokia just announced looks like the closest thing to date:
http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/cellphones/nokia/nokia-770-internet-appliance-104893.php
http://www.mobileburn.com/review.jsp?Id=1376

pros: runs embedded linux, looks to be < $350, >4" display, touchscreen, quick boot
cons: comes loaded with Opera as a web browser (major bummer)

Has anyone found a similar niche device that looks like it fits this bill? (if you use your TV or a PDA or a Cell Phone to control your Squeezeboxen, good for you, but that's not what I'm shooting for) I gave the PepperPad a look (way too expensive), and have considered ViewSonic AirDisplays (big, Microsoft-shackled).

cheers,
#!/ben

adhir
2005-05-25, 14:21
I've been researching the same thing lately. The Nokia 770 is quite a
find -- looks promising -- although I can't see how they're going to
sell it for under $350. BTW -- being loaded with Opera is prob not a
big deal -- it's running Linux so you can install whatever browser you
want on it. As it happens, Opera is prob faster than most other
browsers, and that's a big factor on small, slow machines such as these.

The only other device I've found which fits the bill is a Sharp Zaurus
SL-5500 -- would need a WIFI card for it, but the whole shebang can be
had for under 200 from ebay these days. The big plus is that you get a
keyboard. Yes, I realize this is sold as a PDA, but let's face it --
it's much more than that -- it's an ultraportable Linux box.

bklaas wrote:

>I really like the slimserver web interface, but don't always have a
>laptop on or near my Squeezebox. I find the remote control/LED display
>method of queuing songs functional, but a bit clunky.
>
>To that end, I've been searching for a reasonably-priced device that
>was "a little more than a PDA and a little less than a PC". I had a few
>requirements in mind-- runs a web browser, has a touchscreen,
>almost-instantaneous bootup, and won't make me squint at an ultra-teeny
>display.
>
>this device that Nokia just announced looks like the closest thing to
>date:
>http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/cellphones/nokia/nokia-770-internet-appliance-104893.php
>http://www.mobileburn.com/review.jsp?Id=1376
>
>pros: runs embedded linux, looks to be < $350, >4" display,
>touchscreen, quick boot
>cons: comes loaded with Opera as a web browser (major bummer)
>
>Has anyone found a similar niche device that looks like it fits this
>bill? (if you use your TV or a PDA or a Cell Phone to control your
>Squeezeboxen, good for you, but that's not what I'm shooting for) I
>gave the PepperPad a look (way too expensive), and have considered
>ViewSonic AirDisplays (big, Microsoft-shackled).
>
>cheers,
>#!/ben
>
>
>
>

mherger
2005-05-25, 14:23
> this device that Nokia just announced looks like the closest thing to
> date:
> http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/cellphones/nokia/nokia-770-internet-appliance-104893.php
> http://www.mobileburn.com/review.jsp?Id=1376

Wow! That's exactly what I've been (well, still am) waiting for! And I
wanted to develop this myself once I had won the bingo millions :-)

> pros: runs embedded linux, looks to be < $350, >4" display,
> touchscreen, quick boot
> cons: comes loaded with Opera as a web browser (major bummer)

I love Opera! What's your problem about it?

> Has anyone found a similar niche device that looks like it fits this

As I said I have been looking for something like this. What imho comes
closest might be the Simpad. But it's EOLed and on ebay still more or
(almost as) expensive then these 350$

> ViewSonic AirDisplays (big, Microsoft-shackled).

Do they still exist?

--

Michael

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Victor Brilon
2005-05-25, 14:28
<disclaimer>
I work at Nokia, I know someone who works in the group that works on
this product. I have no inside knowledge of anything having to do
with this product since I am in an entirely different division.
</disclaimer>

I've seen this thing and it's a very good looking device. Really
sharp screen and fun to use. I think I may be able to get one of
these to play with and I'd be glad to work with someone who is
smarter than I am about skins to make a perfect skin for it.

Anyone up for it?

Victor

On May 25, 2005, at 4:23 PM, Michael Herger wrote:

>> this device that Nokia just announced looks like the closest thing to
>> date:
>> http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/cellphones/nokia/nokia-770-internet-
>> appliance-104893.php
>> http://www.mobileburn.com/review.jsp?Id=1376
>>
>
> Wow! That's exactly what I've been (well, still am) waiting for!
> And I wanted to develop this myself once I had won the bingo
> millions :-)
>
>
>> pros: runs embedded linux, looks to be < $350, >4" display,
>> touchscreen, quick boot
>> cons: comes loaded with Opera as a web browser (major bummer)
>>
>
> I love Opera! What's your problem about it?
>
>
>> Has anyone found a similar niche device that looks like it fits this
>>
>
> As I said I have been looking for something like this. What imho
> comes closest might be the Simpad. But it's EOLed and on ebay still
> more or (almost as) expensive then these 350$
>
>
>> ViewSonic AirDisplays (big, Microsoft-shackled).
>>
>
> Do they still exist?
>
> --
>
> Michael
>
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> Help translate SlimServer by using the
> StringEditor Plugin (http://www.herger.net/slim/)
>
>

mherger
2005-05-25, 14:41
> The only other device I've found which fits the bill is a Sharp Zaurus
> SL-5500 -- would need a WIFI card for it, but the whole shebang can be

That's exactly what I'm using now as a remote for the slimserver, to read
my mails without starting the computer or even to surf a little bit. But
the screen is simply too small. I'll be glad to pay some money for 800x480
compared to Zaurus' 320x240.

> had for under 200 from ebay these days. The big plus is that you get a
> keyboard.

Which is ok to enter URLs or quickly run some commands in the ssh client
;-). But I wouldn't seriously consider it to write mails.

> Yes, I realize this is sold as a PDA, but let's face it -- it's much
> more than that -- it's an ultraportable Linux box.

When I first read about those guys who run slimserver on devices like the
Linksys NSLU2 I thought about trying to install it on my Zaurus. Then I
read about those hours you need to install perl... and gave up before I
even started :-). But having ssh VNC viewer & server samba client etc. on
a pda is fun.

--

Michael

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adhir
2005-05-25, 14:49
> That's exactly what I'm using now as a remote for the slimserver, to
> read my mails without starting the computer or even to surf a little
> bit. But the screen is simply too small. I'll be glad to pay some
> money for 800x480 compared to Zaurus' 320x240.
>
When you say "too small", you mean for reading mail and surfing?
Because I think it should be more than sufficient for controlling
slimserver -- especially if someone makes a skin/theme for slimserver
which is friendly to that size screen.

>> had for under 200 from ebay these days. The big plus is that you get
>> a keyboard.
>
>
> Which is ok to enter URLs or quickly run some commands in the ssh
> client ;-). But I wouldn't seriously consider it to write mails.
>
But it sure would be nice to search for songs. I can't stand trying to
key song/album/artist names on the slim remote. It's the main thing
which keeps me from using squeezebox more than I do.

bklaas
2005-05-25, 19:49
Another intriguing thought about the Nokia 770--it claims support for playing mp3s and the like. So then you could run slimserver in a browser, xmms (or some such thing) pointing to the slimserver stream, headphones on your melon, and boom! you've got a pretty fancy portable player! well, at least until you get out of WiFi range...

Or...you can use your 770 to control your multiple squeezeboxen that are all synced and you've got poor man's Sonos!

man, so many possibilities. now if i can just squirrel away the $$ to buy the thing...

as for Opera-- It's been so long since I've used it I should back off of my original statement, but my beefs with that browser used to be: Poor Standards Support (CSS and Javascript particularly), Not Free (looks like that has changed though), Closed Source, Non-Intuitive UI (for me). I just looked at their website though and the screenshots alone tell me it's come a long way. I'm a very devout Firefox fan though, and with it's uber-flexibility I'd be a difficult sell on Opera. I would think Firefox could run as lean and mean or more so than Opera on the 770.

btw- great discussion on this thread, folks. I like seeing active threads about stuff other than "my squeezebox don't work" and "DRM sucks" (it does, but that's not interesting).

cheers,
#!/ben

radish
2005-05-25, 21:18
Opera is easily as standards compliant as Firefox, and it runs lighter (which is obviously important for embedded type devices). In many ways it's actually more customizable and tweakable than Firefox, unless you're happy getting your hands mucky with XUL. The UI is a little different (I don't like it personally), and it is closed source. There is a free (ad supported) version, and a pay (no ads) version for Windows, though I would imagine the version for the Nokia will be licensed and thus ad-free. I work in a team full of web geeks and I'd say we're are split about 70/30 ff/opera.

mherger
2005-05-25, 22:43
> When you say "too small", you mean for reading mail and surfing?

Surfing. Opera's "small screen rendering" does a nice job, but it's not
always that handy.

> Because I think it should be more than sufficient for controlling
> slimserver --

Oh, it is! I use it all the time with the handheld skin.

> especially if someone makes a skin/theme for slimserver which is
> friendly to that size screen.

Handheld has been developped for this. It uses only few images, very
little CSS (due to earlier Pocket IE not supporting it) and almost no
javascript. I'm really happy with it since the day it was contributed.
Almost all my plugins support it ;-)

>> Which is ok to enter URLs or quickly run some commands in the ssh
>> client ;-). But I wouldn't seriously consider it to write mails.
> But it sure would be nice to search for songs.

I have to admit that I rarely use the search. But the keyboard simplifies
any text editing, of course.

--

Michael

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mherger
2005-05-25, 22:52
> Another intriguing thought about the Nokia 770--it claims support for
> playing mp3s and the like. So then you could run slimserver in a
> browser, xmms (or some such thing) pointing to the slimserver stream,
> headphones on your melon, and boom! you've got a pretty fancy portable
> player! well, at least until you get out of WiFi range...

Far enough to listen to your music while hoovering your appartment :-)

> man, so many possibilities. now if i can just squirrel away the $$ to
> buy the thing...

I'll have the bucks by the day it sorts for those 350$ in _Switzerland_. I
bet they'll ask almost the double over here :-(.

> Poor Standards Support (CSS and Javascript particularly),

As radish stated correctly this is no longer an issue.

> though, and with it's uber-flexibility I'd be a difficult sell on
> Opera.

Flexibility is great with the desktop versions. Can't say this for the
copy I'm running on the Zaurus, though.

> I would think Firefox could run as lean and mean or more so than
> Opera on the 770.

I'm not so sure. Opera is quite a standard with small devices: they have
versions for many different mobile phones, techniques like "small screen
rendering" which optionally optimises the layout for small screens etc.
They have a lot of experience with small devices, that others simply don't
have. But I think there's a project working on a smaller footprint, small
devices optimised mozilla browser.

Well, 800x480 might outgrow the "small screen" category :-)

--

Michael

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Mark Bennett
2005-05-25, 23:50
This also looked very interesting to me, but I can't seem to
find any reference to an IR port. The 770 could also clean up
in the high-end remote control market (think Pronto etc.)
if it included a good consumer grade IR port. (If you build
it, the software would come...)

I've just bought a Axim x50v to serve as universal remote
control and web browser, but the 770 looks like it could be
a better fit if it had IR.

Also, I've only seen reference to the size of screen, not the
resolution. Is it a 640*480 as on the latest PDA's, or is it
just a large 320*240? (The price would indicate the latter,
but it would seem a shame.)


On Wed, 2005-05-25 at 16:28 -0500, Victor Brilon wrote:
> <disclaimer>
> I work at Nokia, I know someone who works in the group that works on
> this product. I have no inside knowledge of anything having to do
> with this product since I am in an entirely different division.
> </disclaimer>
>
> I've seen this thing and it's a very good looking device. Really
> sharp screen and fun to use. I think I may be able to get one of
> these to play with and I'd be glad to work with someone who is
> smarter than I am about skins to make a perfect skin for it.
>
> Anyone up for it?
>
> Victor

--
"The biggest problem encountered while trying to design a system that
was completely foolproof, was, that people tended to underestimate the
ingenuity of complete fools." (Douglas Adams)

mherger
2005-05-26, 00:02
> Also, I've only seen reference to the size of screen, not the
> resolution. Is it a 640*480 as on the latest PDA's, or is it
> just a large 320*240? (The price would indicate the latter,
> but it would seem a shame.)

The pages are "offline for maintenance", but they were talking about
800x480!
http://www.nokia.com/nokia/0,,75108,00.html

--

Michael

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hunta
2005-05-26, 05:24
An interesting concept - exactly what I'd go for. But my feeling is it's going to have to be cheaper than $350 to compete seriously in the market place, much as I'd like to see it happen, especially for someone like me in the UK (i.e. probably paying more like 350). PC Magazine also have their doubts.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1820232,00.asp

adhir
2005-05-26, 06:27
I agree -- I think you've hit upon a potential critical mistake on their
part. The IR port is key...

Mark Bennett wrote:

>This also looked very interesting to me, but I can't seem to
>find any reference to an IR port. The 770 could also clean up
>in the high-end remote control market (think Pronto etc.)
>if it included a good consumer grade IR port. (If you build
>it, the software would come...)
>
>I've just bought a Axim x50v to serve as universal remote
>control and web browser, but the 770 looks like it could be
>a better fit if it had IR.
>
>Also, I've only seen reference to the size of screen, not the
>resolution. Is it a 640*480 as on the latest PDA's, or is it
>just a large 320*240? (The price would indicate the latter,
>but it would seem a shame.)
>
>
>On Wed, 2005-05-25 at 16:28 -0500, Victor Brilon wrote:
>
>
>><disclaimer>
>>I work at Nokia, I know someone who works in the group that works on
>>this product. I have no inside knowledge of anything having to do
>>with this product since I am in an entirely different division.
>></disclaimer>
>>
>>I've seen this thing and it's a very good looking device. Really
>>sharp screen and fun to use. I think I may be able to get one of
>>these to play with and I'd be glad to work with someone who is
>>smarter than I am about skins to make a perfect skin for it.
>>
>>Anyone up for it?
>>
>>Victor
>>
>>
>
>
>

fuzzyT
2005-05-26, 07:43
hunta wrote:
> An interesting concept - exactly what I'd go for. But my feeling is it's
> going to have to be cheaper than $350 to compete seriously in the market
> place

I don't know, this is pretty close to something I've been looking for: a
travelling mini-tablet/sub-laptop/super-PDA.

Perfect for light couch surfing. [ex: what other movies has that actor
been in?, what's this guy's pitch count getting up to? etc.]

And pretty good for on the road e-mail. WiFi only, no cell net, but no
service plan needed either. And a keyboard, either built-in or
Bluetooth, would be a benefit.

Screensize is one of the key elements that's been missing. I agree that
an IR emitter is important to round this device out for it's living room
role. Although for strictly SB use, I think I would just use WiFi to
talk to the server. But, I'm sure a lot of folks would want to use this
for a standalone automation piece for A/V.

And it would _really_ extend the capabilities if there was Bluetooth
(think: keyboard, sync to phone, VOIP headset, etc).

--rt

dean
2005-05-26, 07:55
On May 26, 2005, at 6:27 AM, Alok K. Dhir wrote:

> I agree -- I think you've hit upon a potential critical mistake on
> their part. The IR port is key...
Ah, but remember, SB2 has a port that will be able to do IR blasting!

-dean

John Gorst
2005-05-26, 08:14
ron thigpen wrote:

> Screensize is one of the key elements that's been missing. I agree that
> an IR emitter is important to round this device out for it's living room
> role.

It could send the IR request to the slimserver/squeezebox which then
uses the new (and not yet functioning) IR blaster of the SB2 to send the
IR codes onwards.

This would require someone to write some custom software though.

Victor Brilon
2005-05-26, 08:26
On May 26, 2005, at 9:43 AM, ron thigpen wrote:

>
> And it would _really_ extend the capabilities if there was
> Bluetooth (think: keyboard, sync to phone, VOIP headset, etc).

It *does* have Bluetooth :) Not sure which profiles it supports
though. I'll try to found out soon.

fuzzyT
2005-05-26, 09:02
Victor Brilon wrote:
> It *does* have Bluetooth :) Not sure which profiles it supports though.
> I'll try to found out soon.

whoops. need to read more before posting...

would love to see the profile support.

this device is looking better and better.

the underlying OS and AppDev tools are here (and FOS!):
<http://maemo.org/>

--rt

bklaas
2005-05-26, 13:10
mobileburn just posted a hands-on with this device, including lots of photos--
http://www.mobileburn.com/gallery.jsp?Page=2&Id=1381

it has bluetooth, but no current capabilities for a bluetooth keyboard. it is a linux device though, therefore should be very upgradeable, plus there's no reason a 3rd party couldn't develop one.

it also will support a virtual keyboard with the stylus, and you can even write words instead of having to do it "palm-style"

one thing I thought was interesting was that the cover also has a small screen, so high-level app control can be done from there. nice.

i expect the price will start at $350 and will go nowhere but down. i'll probably get one when it drops to around $250...

#!/ben

IainHar@aol.com
2005-05-28, 04:11
This is a great thread and judging by the amount of response allready, there
is huge potential for Nokia et all in this niche. For too long the people
like AMX, Creston etc have monopolised and as such it has been a rich mans
playground. I truly believe that as products like this become available we have
to embrace them and show other manufacturers that we DO want products like
this, but are only willing to take them up if they get the Quality/
Funtion/Price correct.

That said, why cant Slim put a video out port on the SB?

I have mine integrated with my home cinema setup to provide music instaed of
playing CD's. (I have a seperate room for serious Hi Fi listening). If you
had a video out, then you could display your slimserver on your
TV/Plasma/Projector. You could then navigate this via your remote giving you much more ease
of use for setting up playlists etc.

I dont think this would have an adverse effect on the price of the SB.

Any thoughts all?

Iain

adhir
2005-05-28, 05:53
look up the roku photobridge hd.

http://www.rokulabs.com/

IainHar (AT) aol (DOT) com wrote:

> This is a great thread and judging by the amount of response allready,
> there is huge potential for Nokia et all in this niche. For too long
> the people like AMX, Creston etc have monopolised and as such it has
> been a rich mans playground. I truly believe that as products like
> this become available we have to embrace them and show other
> manufacturers that we DO want products like this, but are only willing
> to take them up if they get the Quality/ Funtion/Price correct.
>
> */That said, why cant Slim put a video out port on the SB?/*
> *//*
> I have mine integrated with my home cinema setup to provide music
> instaed of playing CD's. (I have a seperate room for serious Hi Fi
> listening). If you had a video out, then you could display your
> slimserver on your TV/Plasma/Projector. You could then navigate this
> via your remote giving you much more ease of use for setting up
> playlists etc.
>
> I dont think this would have an adverse effect on the price of the SB.
>
> Any thoughts all?
>
> Iain
>
>------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>