Nokia 770 becomes better, much better….

I’ve been surfing through the maemo catalog for Nokia 770 PDA. I’ve noticed that growing pains have been solved, and a newly released Beta version of the OS promises to greatly improve the PDA’s functionality. On the bulletin board users are estatic about the improvements, although it is still only beta software, so users like me shouldn’t be messing with it. It’s hard to say when the final upgrade will appear, although it probably will happen within the month. Here’s a brief summary of the Nokia 770 improvements (and open issues).
Notable things:

  1. PIM improvements. The linux PDA GPE had lots of good features, but it had several omissions. First, no good appointment alarm (apparently because Nokia didn’t make that functionality possible). Also, the calendar offered only rudimentary ability to set up recurring appointments (which annoyed me so much that I even filed a bug about it). This absence was a real deal breaker, but the developer got on it, and now it’s fixed for the 2006 version of the OS when it is released. Also even though there’s still no easy way to sync with Outlook, at least solutions are coming closer.
  2. microphone. Strangely, 770 came with a built in microphone that didn’t work. The new version not only has an audio driver, it also supports Google Talk, a web voice chat program (and here’s tapioca, a nifty new platform integrating VOIP with chat).
  3. Maemo mapper, a program that lets you map locations, seems to be popular and stable.
  4. apparently the PDF reader works much better. Also, fbreader–the ebook program of record–has been updated several times. Actually I filed a bug about that too which was fixed by the developer within days. Now that’s awesome!
  5. now it seems to come with a default password management program.
  6. performance improvements. Apparently the browser loads faster and the file manager has usability improvements.
  7. apparently, it now has an apt-get updating capability, making it painless to upgrade applications (it really wasn’t bad before though).

My problem with Nokia has been stability of files I edit. I seem to have corrupted an awful lot of these files (although this may be related to my particular memory card or the applications I am using). The device still is rough on the edges, but so far, I’ve found gpe-to do quite useful. The browser, while not perfect (I wish you could change from landscape view to portrait view and you really can’t keep open multiple windows) works well enough. Fbreader works almost flawlessly. I found that I used the Nokia 770 as a lightweight laptop, something I could keep in my pocket (along with my bluetooth keyboard) and use when I didn’t feel like lugging that heavy thinkpad around.
Still, when the new OS upgrade comes out, it probably will make nokia 770 more versatile of a gadget. Interestingly, the documentation on the wiki page makes it more attractive; often the nokia 770 had functionality, but it just wasn’t easily documented anywhere.
Honestly, I had meant to play around with the 770 over the last few months, but lack of time prevented me. Now with the new OS coming soon, I probably will spend more time