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Meet the Nokia tablet that never was: the M510, circa 2001

Posted: , by Maxwell R.

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Meet the Nokia tablet that never was: the M510, circa 2001
Imagine a Nokia tablet in production a full nine years before the world would see its first iPad, or six years before the iconic iPhone. It almost happened, actually, you could say it really did happen.

Then, after what could be called the last minute, the plug was pulled after about 1,000 units were manufactured, and so the Nokia M510 Web Tablet would never reach the hands of consumers.

Consumers and families were the target of the M510. Esko Yliruusi was on the team that created the tablet, and was responsible for testing the communications capabilities of the device. He was attached to the project up to the point it was canceled in August 2001 and he left the company.

The Nokia Web Tablet had a full set of features for hardware of its era. It was designed on an early build of Symbian, called Epoc. It featured native email, calendar, “noticeboard” (like a bulletin board), and Opera web-browser apps.

The user interface was touch-screen enabled, and also stylus enabled. There are function buttons and toggles on each side of the tablet. The screen was a full 10-inch 800x600 pixel LCD. There was enough battery power for 4 hours of use, which, if you remember the technology from 2001, meant the tablets weight of 4 pounds was perfectly reasonable.

There was USB connectivity as well as ps/2 and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Connectivity was managed by a Nokia C111 Wi-Fi module providing 802.11b connections allowing speeds up to 11Mbps. The M510 even had a stand to keep it upright while it was on the table.  In fact, you could say the tablet was ahead of its time to an extent.  Nokia's market research was indicating there was no demand for the product and that was the reason why the project was canceled.

Of the 1,000 tablets that were produced, nearly all of them were sent to the crusher. Mr. Yliruusi believes there are about 130 surviving devices. Each member of the development team got their own, “I had a strong feeling that this one is a keeper. There were things in the device that were done just as they should be. I felt that we shall be hearing of gadgets like this.”

As it happened, Nokia would not offer another tablet device until 2005, with the announcement of the Nokia 770. According to Mr. Yliruusi, the 770 took some of the better features of the M510, “When the Nokia 770 was launched I had the feeling that all of our work hadn’t gone to waste.”

While today’s technology outshines the capabilities of the Nokia M510 Web Tablet in every way, the fact that Nokia is out of the hardware manufacturing business makes the argument that this tech gadget is quite collectible.


source: digitoday
photo credits: Kuva: Seppo Kärki - digitoday - Talous Sanomat

41 Comments
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posted on 26 Apr 2014, 18:58 35

1. akki20892 (Posts: 3222; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Nokia is pure innovative company. Forever in my heart.

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 19:10 19

3. aksa123 (Posts: 161; Member since: 30 Jan 2014)


I feel the same, bro. I miss the old Nokia. I really do.

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 23:53 2

23. Ashoaib (Posts: 1165; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


Pure innovative but where is that tablet? no release right? Nokia failed to do anything on time and now a part of history.... I hope they will never come back with their ugly phones

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 04:42 5

28. panjgoori (Posts: 20; Member since: 17 Nov 2012)


ugly phones ? which Nokia phone is ugly ?

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 07:11 5

30. akki20892 (Posts: 3222; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


U know dude, he is pure blind hater. He is burning, seeing this innovation from Nokia.

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 14:21

41. Ashoaib (Posts: 1165; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


This is an innovation which ended up in a garbage can?... pure blind hater? well you are a pure blind lover who dosnt has a sense to see

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 14:19

40. Ashoaib (Posts: 1165; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)


Which nokia phone is beautiful? i remembered only feature phone era phones...

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 16:08 1

42. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 876; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


OK then a different question what is a beautiful phone in your eyes ?

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 19:05 2

2. Sauce (unregistered)


Good thing it didn't happen. That thing is fugly.

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 19:19 31

4. sipha (Posts: 243; Member since: 12 May 2012)


By todays standards... But in 2001?? Dont think its that bad at all...

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 19:21 1

5. Sauce (unregistered)


The iPad (physical only) or SS Tab could easily be achieved with such design back in 2001. The screen? No, but the physical material, most definitely.

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 21:12 6

9. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5356; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"The screen? No, but the physical material, most definitely."

What you mean by saying physical material? Screen is not physical material?

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 21:17

11. Sauce (unregistered)


As in all physical aspects and design feats beside a touch screen as advanced as todays. Use your brain please, it's written out right in front of you. Doesn't hurt to think.

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 21:32 6

15. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5356; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


First you say "physical material" now you say "all physical aspects". Do you realize that "physical material" =/= "all physical aspects" ?

Now it is completely clear that you don't realize what you are talking about. :D

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 22:06

18. Sauce (unregistered)


ALL. physical. aspects. and. design. feats. BESIDE. a. touch. screen. as. advanced. as. todays.

Once again, use your brain please.

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 11:59

38. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5356; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


In first your comment #5 you use expression "physical material". But after my questions in my comment #9, you suddenly change your expression "physical material" to expression "all physical aspects". By saying that you made logical mistake since "physical material" =/= "all physical aspects". And you failed even more when you mentioned design since again design by it self can't be a "physical material".

And there can be only two main reasons why all this nonsense has happened:

1) You just don't realize what you are talking about.

And/Or

2) You are unable to clearly express your minds.

So use your own advice and next time use your brain, get some knowledge and then try to express your minds more clearly instead of blaming other people because of bulls**t which you are writing.

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 21:14 11

10. magnanimus (Posts: 210; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


A device with physical dimensions as the iPad could not have been commercialized at that time due to screen limitations (Resistive touch screen was the one in use at that time and they aren't as thin as capacitive touch screens), and hardware limitations (a tablet needs a big battery and battery size wasnt that small back then). If you ever watched Space Odyssey (2001), tablets the size as the first iPad was shown as a thing of the future. So yes, that looks pretty good for its time.

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 21:29 10

14. magnanimus (Posts: 210; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


Tl;dr,
-Huge WiFi component (not popular in 2001).
-Huge screen circuitry (High-res resistive LCD screen).
-Runs on symbian probably use Intel 386 CPU (not that small either)
-Huge speakers (not wise to use phone speakers).
-Huge battery (Runs High-res LCD for 4 hours most likely more than 3000mAH)

And many more. So iPad dimensions can't be commercialized.

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 03:52

27. nexusdude (Posts: 139; Member since: 22 Aug 2013)


I totally like the Nokia tablet, but ,uh, Space Odyssey is from 1968. It refers to 2001 as a thing of the future...

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 09:44 1

36. magnanimus (Posts: 210; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


Sorry man, my bad :) Sorry everyone for the bad information. I sincerely apologize :)

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 04:58 2

29. Smokin (Posts: 117; Member since: 10 Oct 2013)


You're very ignorant. If this did happen, i bet you'll be like "OMG that thing is awesome!" this is full 9 years before iPads. The components were huge. I've never met people as ignorant as you. This was 2001.

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 08:23 1

32. -box- (Posts: 3699; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Well there were Windows tablets in 2001, but mostly for business people, not typical consumers.

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 09:31

34. Sauce (unregistered)


He is the ignorant one lolololol

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 09:43 1

35. magnanimus (Posts: 210; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


Yes there were but they didn't properly kick off until 2003 and in 2003, one of the most successfully launched is the HP TC1100 tablet PC. And this also weighed 4 pounds. So 2 years later Windows tablet PCs were still has heavy as this.

FYI, before 2003, they weren't consumer products and were therefore embedded in Institutional buildings like Hospitals.

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 19:22 3

6. PressStart (Posts: 95; Member since: 08 Apr 2014)


A gigantic personal assistant with web accessibility, still a cool idea considering.

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 19:40 1

7. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 682; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)


I bet this thing would cost a soul if it were to be sold on eBay

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 19:45 1

8. domfonusr (Posts: 280; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)


What a great throwback. Come to think of it, the Nokia 7700 and 7710 were similar devices in the sense that an early touchscreen-enabled Symbian (EKA1 "Series 90" rather than just straight EPOC) was at their heart, unlike the later Nokia 770 and N800 (and other Maemo/MeeGo decendants). I will admit that this M510 looks a bit unwieldy, but it is still neat to see. A very interesting and rare piece of history...

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 12:06

39. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5356; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Very well said. +1

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 21:17 1

12. Vanster (Posts: 124; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)


the legend has gone now. . T.T

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 21:19

13. techloverNYC (Posts: 353; Member since: 20 Nov 2012)


Instead of those out of place buttons. Throw in a gamepad control like the Ps or xbox and we got ourselves a nice portable gaming system.

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 21:37 2

16. Slammer (Posts: 919; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)


Actually, everyone should check out the Linus Write-top. First tablet idea introduced in 1987. Designed to work with a stylus as well.

John B.

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 22:29 3

19. HildyJ (Posts: 84; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


Slammer is right, tablets started with the Linus Write-top in 1987. It had nothing to do with Linux (which didn't exist yet) but ran MS-DOS.

Samsung also got into the game (well before Apple) in 1989 with the Penmaster which was manufactured for GRID Computing as the GRIDPad.

Everything old is new again.

posted on 26 Apr 2014, 23:14 1

20. express77 (unregistered)


A couple of stupid decisions and not listening to people was the end of an innovative division of Nokia. But they may rise again as they have done many times in the past century. Waiting for that moment.

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 00:36

24. 36thDisciple (Posts: 10; Member since: 21 Apr 2014)


Look at those appalling bezels!!! Well, I suppose the built-in PS2 makes up for that.

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 02:04

25. wolfsaviorzx (unregistered)


For everyone saying how great Nokia is, remember they made the "NGage" one of the worse devices ever made. People like Nokia because they had the phones as a kid. It was never good tbh.

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 03:41

26. lukkiristi (Posts: 36; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Well, NGage was one among hundreds of products, so... No company ever becomes that successful if the products aren't good.

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 08:12

31. -box- (Posts: 3699; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


I'd rather have one of these than an ipad

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 08:58

33. Trex95 (Posts: 540; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)


This a bigger version of N-GAGE .

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 11:21

37. diehardnokian (Posts: 28; Member since: 27 Apr 2014)


woaah! front facing speakers -- respect!

posted on 27 Apr 2014, 22:43

44. chemhaz (Posts: 159; Member since: 04 May 2012)


I know I would have bought one back in 2001 and I was well over carting a heavy laptop around for essntially 90% web browsing and light gaming. This would have been perfect for the consumer market.

posted on 28 Apr 2014, 14:00

45. ashouhdy (Posts: 44; Member since: 31 Oct 2013)


Nokia had the most dumb managers team i have ever seen in my life ! if they intended to ruin the company they couldn't have done better ! dumping symbian not join the revolution of android long ago and now seeing a tablet before its age with 6yrs ! they could have done wonders to it and it would sell alot i say... alot that could boost this company a 10yrs ahead all competitors. i believe some one in the inside was geting paid to give out this dumb descisions so this company fail in 1 decade, the hell with dumba**

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