Nokia canceled a tablet PC after making 1,000 units in 2001

Even as Nokia transfers its Devices and Services division to Microsoft later today, a recent article from its home country of Finland reveals that the company created a touch screen 10 inch tablet PC in 2001, several years before the launch of the iPad.

The Digitoday site has the information, along with some images, of the tablet, the Nokia M510. It used Epoc, an early version of Nokia's Symbian OS. It had an email and calendar client, along with a version of the Opera web browser. It had 32 MB of RAM and 32 MB of Flash memory. Even though it had a touch screen, it still had buttons to control some features on either side of the 800x600 display.

The M510 was a pretty heavy tablet at 4.14 pounds and its battery only lasted four hours. The article claims that Nokia actually made 1,000 units of the tablet before it was canceled. Apparently, Nokia's consumer research came in and suggested there was no market for such a device.

Most of the 1,000 models were destroyed. The team members who worked on the M510 each got to keep one unit, and the article estimates just 130 of the tablets still survive.

Source: Digitoday | Image via Digitoday/Seppo Kärki

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24 Comments

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Interesting but waaaay too early to be accepted by the mass market due to power, size, etc. Definitely a case of the idea being there, but the tech nit being ready.

dbam987 said,
Does the Nintendo Gameboy count as a tablet (released in 1989)? Or what about the first portable calculator, which was released way back in 1970 by Sanyo? What classifies a device to be a tablet? The Gameboy and Sanyo calculator both had many characteristics of a tablet - portable electronic devices that can be held in hand, minus a touch screen and multi-purpose OS.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gameboy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculator

A tablet is a personal computer on which you can install software and get work done. You can't really do that on either of the above devices types.

Dot Matrix said,
That looks awful.

Reminds me of a TV my family had back in the 70's, just needs some rabbit ears.

Tablet PC's didn't get interesting till the UMPC's a couple years later.

Generic PC as a tablet probably had no market, it needed specialized software and interfaces, and apps to take advantage. Not to mention good battery life and form factor, an x86 chip back then would have struggled and the thing looked clunky. 4lbs? Ouch.

There's mixed info here, part of the copy says it's a PC, the other part says it's running a non-PC OS. Article doesn't mention CPU but since neowin calls it a "tablet PC" I assumed x86.

I still have my Ngage QD at home, I realise its generally hated on the internet, however I thought it was a great device.

A £120 smart phone capable of playing Tomb Raider, smoothly in 3D, along with many other high quality games. For its time it was light-years ahead of all these other phones which could only play horrible Java J2ME games.

I also remember been able to emulate the Snes, Mega Drive, GameBoy, NES and so on. Playing MP3's, browsing the web. The phone did it all, at an affordable price.

Vinylchan said,
Microsoft had Windows tablets in 2001, no biggie


Nope they did not as Windows XP was launched in october of 2001 while the Tablet edition as Ms called it was launched in 2002 or 2003 when we started seeing them on the market

notuptome2004 said,

Nope they did not as Windows XP was launched in october of 2001 while the Tablet edition as Ms called it was launched in 2002 or 2003 when we started seeing them on the market

You're both wrong.
Microsoft launched a tablet in the year 2000, I had access to one.
Yes, when XP was launched they made a tablet variant of the OS for their tablets, but they did in fact have a tablet prior to this.

You guys need to source your claims. "Launched" is not the same as made a concept device for internal testing. And JustinN why don't you go into a bit more detail about what you claim to have seen? What OS was it running, what did it look like?

foaf said,
You guys need to source your claims. "Launched" is not the same as made a concept device for internal testing. And JustinN why don't you go into a bit more detail about what you claim to have seen? What OS was it running, what did it look like?

It looked a lot like the Kindle DX, but in colour, and with a chunky pen attached to the front, and from memory I believe it was white. The actual OS reminded me very much so of Windows 95 with 256 colours, even though 98 SE was the latest OS I was running at the time (with 16 million colours).