The Linux-powered Nokia N810 from 2007 -- still awesome in 2021

The N810 may be 14 years old... but it's still a rad little handheld computer.

  • 400 MHz CPU

  • 128 MB of RAM

  • 800 x 480 display

  • Physical slide out keyboard

  • Debian Linux

The Nokia N810 “Internet Tablet” was a cool little handheld PDA when it was released back in 2007. And, if we’re being honest, is still pretty stinkin’ fantastic even today.

Here’s a quick rundown of just some of what’s possible with the trusty old N810, 14 years after it was released (and long since Nokia stopped supporting it).

That’s the N810 running a PalmOS 5.x emulator. Running the PalmOS version of Sim City. The highest performance Palm PDA you can realistically get.

Install PalmOS applications — any of them you like. With awesome performance.

Don’t care about PalmOS? Looking to get some work done? How about full office applications (it is a Debian-based OS after all). Here’s Abiword running. Simple, but powerful word processing.

DOSBox. For DOS gaming and productivity on the go. Performance isn’t crazy good… about equivalent to a high end 286. But fast enough for some good DOS gaming.

How about a full version of ScummVM? Play old Sierra or Lucas Arts adventure games (plus a ton of other titles) with astoundingly good performance. Space Quest IV pictured here… with full voice acting and flawless performance.

That, right there, is Heroes of Might and Magic 2. Using the “FreeHeroes2” open source engine, using the full Heroes 2 CD data loaded onto the SD card. Perfect performance, and highly playable. One of the best “on the go” strategy experiences you can get.

Likewise Jagged Alliance 2 plays pretty great. A few quirks on the screen resolution, but very playable. Good performance.

And here’s SyncTerm, connected to the House of Lunduke BBS (bbs.lunduke.com). Get your BBS telnet gaming on… on the go! With a full physical keyboard!

There’s so much more you can do with the N810. Full Linux shell (emacs, anyone?), and tons of applications available. If you’re fairly comfortable with Linux (and looking for repositories) this is an amazing pocket computer.

It’s amazing what fun you can have with aging gear like this. In the case of the N810, it’s capable of doing things that many newer handheld computers (like iPhones) can only dream of.

It’s a shame that Nokia didn’t continue with this line of devices. So much nerdy goodness.


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