Nokia’s Internet tablets don’t support open multimedia formats

Apparently Nokia’s Internet tablets (770 or n800) don’t support Ogg Theora / Vorbis open formats. It’s too bad, since the 700 has dropped in price and is now available around U$140. In a 2005 Linux Journal interview, Dr. Ari Jaaksi of Nokia had an interesting answer to LJ’s question about open formats support:

LJ: Given the proclivities of the Linux community, it has to be asked: will Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora be supported on the 770?
AJ: There’s nothing technical that prevents it. However, the 770 is a consumer device. The challenge is that there is not much [Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora] content right now.

So if I understand correctly, there was a decision from Nokia to actually drop support for open formats on their Internet tablet because it’s a consumer product.

I am left wondering why they didn’t use WinCE in the first place. And no, the n800 that was recenly released still does not support Ogg open formats for audio and video.


14 réflexions sur « Nokia’s Internet tablets don’t support open multimedia formats »

  1. As Stefan Kost pointed out, I don’t think Nokia dropped support. They just didn’t provide a ogg capable player. That is no problem with an open source software device.

  2. The Nokia 770 actually supports OGG and many other formats. It is just a matter of installing some (open source) software like ogg player or mplayer.
    Check this out:

    They didn’t use Win CE in the first place -> that is the main reason why I bought it, apart from the fantastic 800×480 tactile browsing screen.

    Please get informed about what Linux is. You may like it 🙂

  3. Supporting open formats by default is very important to encourage new content production in these formats. Only geeks will really find and install external software.
    Fabian, you’re right pointing this out!

  4. I’ve read speculation that some of the MP3 patent licensing agreements (Fraunhofer, etc) are predicated on dropping ogg support.

  5. Nokia did not go for WinCE because they don’t have to have all their phones in 1-3 years of time running WinCE. It would be catastrophic for them to use a platform they have no control over, and to lose the income that comes from Symbian licensing (and in future, of providing services for Maemo).

    As for what comes to OGG support, the situation is still the same: there’s no OGG content. 99% of the audio is mp3/aac, 99% of the video is WMV or flash video (VP6?). Ogg people have screwed up finishing the Theora and marketing it, as without being a complete and conscice suite of formats&codecs there are no good enough selling points for the transition.

    Furthermore, it doesn’t really count for ordinary customers if it is possible to « add the support later by installing extra packages ». That’s what many nerds don’t really realize.. It doesn’t work like that. What you get out of the box is what counts for Average Joe. Only that.

    If exxaggerated all you’d have to do is to provide g++ and vi and terminal on the N800 for Average Joe and you really could expect him to be happy? Sheesh.

  6. It’s unfortunate that it’s not there by default, if there is no technical hindrance (not even storage). That it is possible or even easy to do is not much of an excuse, though it is an extremely common apology for just about anything Linux that could have worked better.

  7. A few player apps is hardly out-of-the box support for open formats like vorbis and theora. Every detailed technical thread I’ ve read on the subject point to CPU-intensinve theora and vorbis decoding, not using dedicated/optimized hardware for that. So yes, the choice was made in advance to NOT support open formats, based on hrdware design decisions.

    Perhaps the community will end up having open formats supported but that is really not what I call support from Nokia, directly.

    @dave: thanks for pointing that out (mozilla+theora/vorbis)

  8. Fabian, it has nothing to do with the hardware. The integer version of the vorbis decoder (tremor) runs fine. As Nokia uses GStreamer, you need that plugin (which the mogg project provides) and all gstreamer applications can play it.

  9. just for the record, « third party add-on » does not qualify. it should be *out of the box* since it is a consumer device.

    and the excuse about « no content » is just pointless, since. someone has to start somewhere, and in that case it is the consumer (ie playback software/device)

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