I'm wandering around Williamsburg, doubly shafted by Verizon, since I can't get a good signal with my EV-DO card (Manhattan only for high-speed, it would seem). Hauling around a 15-inch laptop is as good a reminder as any how fantastic a light mobile computing platform could be (don't call it a PDA, or you'll get five minutes of Finnish fury), and I have some hope that my next complementary device will be the Nokia 770.

When I spoke to them on the phone for the pre-briefing yesterday (yes, sometimes even we honor NDAs, although we got burned by a South African site on this one), I quizzed the poor Finnish exec left and right about licenses, but we didn't quite get through the accents. What he told me, though, was that Nokia intends for the Maemo platform to be very open—it's GNU and Creative Commons licensed—but we'll have to let the developers start digging in and playing around before we can make any real judgments (and since my programming skills begin and end with '@echo off,' the 'we' is 'you guys,' mostly).

Nokia told me they want the platform to go out into the world, undergo improvements from the community, and then roll those changes into the next versions of the 'official' releases (which will also include major VoIP support, among other things). As long as they haven't jailed developers from accessing every bit of the hardware available—and they'll need to, as the OMAP processor isn't exactly a powerhouse—then the 770 could end up being a really cool mobile computing platform that serves as the mobile media and connectivity device the PSP should have been, if Sony hadn't locked out developers.


As for the lack of cellular radios inside, who cares? It has Bluetooth, which sucks in this country because all the Bluetooth-friendly carriers have crappy bandwidth (although Cingular is on the cusp of high-speed wireless, and they're Bluetooth friendly enough), but you'll want to carry a phone around with you all the time anyway, while the 770 is an optional extension of the experience. Same for a keyboard—Bluetooth uber alles.

The only question I have left is: when does Nokia open up the OS and development environment for its cellphones?