Nokia Booklet 3G - Exploring The OS

Nokia Booklet 3G - Exploring The OSAs promised, the second part to my three-part review on the Nokia Booklet 3G. In the first part (Nokia Booklet 3G - First Impressions) we did an unboxing of the device and I shared my first impressions with you. This article is on the Operating System and usability of the Booklet.

The Booklet runs on an intel Atom (Z530) running at 1.6 GHz, and has 1GB of RAM.  This is good enough for everyday internet use and typing and editing your documents, but it would definitely show signs of straining if you try to run high demanding graphics software. The Nokia Booklet 3G runs Windows 7. My trial device runs starter, which is the lowest in the Windows 7 flavors.

Nokia Booklet 3G - Ovi Suite
The power button starts the Booklets slow boot. Nokia users will immediately feel welcome by the Nokia Connecting people logo. I almost expected to hear the Nokia ringtone, but was greeted by the Windows tone and welcome screen.With the Nokia trademark I was curious to know what more I can expect from this device.

The hardware power button brings up an interface allowing you to choose your battery usage type (balanced, high performance of power saver) or to shutdown and put your device to sleep. This also brings up a visual indicator of the remaining battery power. I don’t see this being used much since users would probably use the windows controls anyway. Nokia should think of linking this widget to the default Windows control.

Nokia Booklet 3G - Battery Life
The keyboard feels a little cramped, and I constantly find myself making mistakes while I type. This is probably due to the key placement or my big fingers that find comfort in larger keyboards. The function keys play a dual role and have some shortcuts mapped to them for brightness and sound. The radio devices are mapped to the f10 key, which pops open a widget allowing us to choose between bluetooth, 3G or WiFi. By default the device was set to flight mode which switches the radio devices off.

Nokia Booklet 3G - Shortcuts
The Wifi on the device is quite strong. Nokia has proven with their mobile devices that they know how to provide a good strong WiFi signal.

If you switch on the 3G device from your wireless device menu, and slip in your data sim card, you can get online your 3G network using your booklet. I was a little disappointed that the 3G modem of the booklet did not perform as well as I have seen some 3G dongles work, The connection kept dropping in some of the locations i tested it, but all in all helped me get online.

Nokia has a set of cloud based services branded as ‘Ovi’. They play a vital part in the Nokia mobile line, bringing a store, email, music among others.  These services are tightly integrated into the mobile devices, giving Nokia users a rich web experience.

The touchpad features multi touch. This allows pinch zoom for pages, which I enjoyed quite a bit. The process is not quite smooth as the Macs I have used but still quite good.

The Booklet has been provided with a Windows gadget, which points the users to download the latest Ovi suite. The Ovi suite is a software application provided my Nokia, which can be installed on Windows, based PCs. This allows users to connect their mobile devices to their PCs and synchronize their mobile content with the computers.

I remember watching a video of Steve Jobs presenting the iPad concept. The iPad was meant to be an intermediary to the iPhone and the Mac computer line. In my opinion the Booklet should have also been a device of that calibre. It would have an Ovi integration that will take it beyond its competition. Having thought these thoughts and completing the Ovi Suite download I was disappointed to find that the Ovi Suite was the very same application that was available for PCs. The Booklet 3G wasn't even recognized as a device on the Suite.

Another application that came pre-installed with the device was Nokia booklet software updater. The software updater is integrated into Windows and provides notifications on updates available for the Booklet.

The service runs in the background and there doesn't seam to be a means of setting a scheduled time for updates.

I feel that this service is best integrated into the Ovi Suite. The older versions of Ovi Suite had a similar interface for updating its modules, so I hope that we will see this evolve into Ovi in the future.

You can select the updates that you want to install and let it work in the background. I decided to download all that was available to keep my test comprehensive.

The updates include a new gadget, Software and Driver updates and Windows related updates. I am going to keep an eye on the frequency of which Nokia updates this device. Once completed Windows needs to be restarted for the updates to take effect.

One of the interesting apps available for download is the Ovi Maps gadget. This gadget uses the A-GPS device in the booklet to pinpoint your location and display it on the gadget.  I was surprised that the GPS device didn't always get my location details as I hoped, but worked most of the time. I don’t know if having a GPS device on the Booklet is extremely useful, but for someone who is constantly on the move, it can prove to be quite handy. By clicking on the gadget you can open the map on the Ovi Maps web page.

I feel that that Nokia should develop a map application for the booklet like they have on their mobile devices, instead of having to use the online version.

Nokia Social Hub, is an application that is available for download as a software update. This application allows you to connect your social sites, namely facebook and twitter allowing users to post messages that appear in both social sites. You can also send text messages if you have a sim card installed on the booklet.
I had some trouble setting this up because there was no way to apply settings to the messaging app.

In conclusion, the experience of using the Nokia Booklet 3G was a win and lose. I am not thrilled that Nokia chose to go with Windows. I would have liked to see Maemo on this device which I got familiar with using the N900. Windows is quite resource hungry, even though Microsoft has done a very good job with Windows 7. Mobile phones are catching up with netbooks. And full blown Operating Systems like windows are best kept for high end PCs and laptops. Netbooks and the Booklet should run mobile Operating Systems. With the recent announcement of Intel and Nokia coming together to develop Meego, I feel the Booklet more than deserves its own flavour or Meego. The Ovi Suite needs to be rebuilt for Nokia’s mini laptops. The Booklet should be identified as a device. Ovi Apps need to allow syncing with the device and the Ovi cloud. Mobile apps should be made available for this device much like iPhone/iPod apps are available for the iPad. If the booklet will continue to run Windows as an option we need to see an Ovi evolution, and if Meego is on its way, Well that would be something all new and exciting.

My booklet will be on its way back to the kind folks who lent it to me. I want to thank the WomWorld/Nokia team for letting me trial this device, and dailymobile for putting up my review on their site.

[UPDATE] Check out our Nokia Booklet 3G - Review, which is the third and final part of our hands on and review of Nokia's first and hopefully not last notebook.

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