I was going to write a post about all the amazing phones I saw last week while I was in Japan but this morning’s announcement of the latest Nokia device trumps that. Techmeme is smothered with coverage.
I’ve been watching the convergence of the smartphone and laptop computer into a single device called a netbook. While Verizon is subsidizing Dell netbooks, Japan’s EMobile will give you an Acer netbook for $100 if you sign up with them. Instead of jamming a desktop OS into a tiny form factor, Nokia is approaching it from another angle and building from the mobile device up with a collection of swappable widgets.
The difference in approach is that a tiny laptop netbook is designed to run client software while the powerful phone netbook is designed to be an extension of web services that you run out of the cloud, optimized with GPS sensors and a camera for data capture.
UPDATE : things have evolved
“A netbook is for the coffee shop or airplane or subway ride. For watching a movie, checking email, updating Twitter, fast, mobile stuff,” writes Dave Winer. For that, I think the N97 fits the bill quite nicely.