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Nokia debuts Linux-based Web device

Cell phone maker has diversified with a Linux tablet that uses Wi-Fi but has no phone. Photos: Nokia's minitablet to go

Nokia on Wednesday announced a pocket-size Web browser for wireless broadband networks, the Finnish firm's first Linux-based device and its first portable product without a built-in mobile phone.

The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet is designed for browsing and e-mail functions, the phone maker said. The gizmo has a 4-inch horizontal touch screen with zoom and an on-screen keyboard. It can be connected to the Net either from a hot spot or using Bluetooth via a compatible mobile phone, Nokia said.

The tablet runs on Linux-based Nokia Internet Tablet 2005 software edition, which includes desktop Linux and open-source technologies. The device includes software such as Internet radio, an RSS news reader, image viewer and media players for selected types of media. The company will provide tools to developers using the Maemo platform to work on future versions and OS releases, it said.

The device is slated to begin shipping in the third quarter in select markets in the Americas and Europe. It will sell for $350 excluding VAT, or 350 euros including VAT, the world's biggest mobile phone maker said.

Phone makers have been introducing smart phones loaded with features including Internet connectivity and e-mail functions. On the other hand, computing device makers are designing PCs that are smaller in size and sport additional features.

"This is the first step in creating an open-source product for broadband and Internet services," Janne Jormalainen, vice president of convergence products at Nokia, said in a release. "We will be launching, regularly, updates of the software. The next software release planned for the first half of next year will support more presence-based functionalities such as VoIP and instant messaging."

Reuters contributed to this story.