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This week in gadgets

Nokia unveils a pocket-size Web browser for wireless broadband networks--its first Linux-based device. Also: Scooba on the way.

Nokia has unveiled a pocket-size Web browser for wireless broadband networks--its first Linux-based device and its first portable product without a built-in mobile phone.

Nokia's tiny tablet
(click to view)

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.

The tablet runs on the Linux-based Nokia Internet Tablet 2005 edition, which includes desktop Linux and other open-source tools.

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.

For those with dingy kitchen floors, the makers of the Roomba will unleash later this year the Scooba, a robotic floor cleaner designed for hard floors made of materials such as tile and linoleum. It vacuums up loose particles and applies cleaner to soak up dirt, then dries the floor, which also makes it safe for wood.

Scooba tidies up
(click to view)

As with the Roomba and other projects, iRobot teamed up with an industrial giant to develop the Scooba. This time, it was Clorox. One of the big engineering challenges was creating the cleaning fluid. Most such fluids are slippery and would throw off a robot's steering systems.

Storage company Iomega is looking to clean up by increasing the capacity of DVDs up to 100 times, meaning it could, conceivably, create 800GB discs. The company has been issued a patent that covers a method of encoding data on the surface of a DVD so more data--on the order of 40 to 100 times that of current capacities--can be stored. Current DVDs can hold up to about 8.5GB of data. Data transfer speeds would also jump five to 30 times, according to the company.