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

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

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41 Comments

1. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Nokia is pure innovative company. Forever in my heart.

3. aksa123

Posts: 365; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

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

23. Ashoaib

Posts: 3269; Member since: Nov 15, 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

28. panjgoori

Posts: 22; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

ugly phones ? which Nokia phone is ugly ?

30. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

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

41. Ashoaib

Posts: 3269; Member since: Nov 15, 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

40. Ashoaib

Posts: 3269; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

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

42. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

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

2. Sauce unregistered

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

4. sipha

Posts: 439; Member since: May 12, 2012

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

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.

9. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"The screen? No, but the physical material, most definitely." What you mean by saying physical material? Screen is not physical material?

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.

15. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 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

18. Sauce unregistered

ALL. physical. aspects. and. design. feats. BESIDE. a. touch. screen. as. advanced. as. todays. Once again, use your brain please.

38. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 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.

10. magnanimus

Posts: 565; Member since: Mar 29, 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.

14. magnanimus

Posts: 565; Member since: Mar 29, 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.

27. nexusdude

Posts: 151; Member since: Aug 22, 2013

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

36. magnanimus

Posts: 565; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

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

29. Smokin

Posts: 120; Member since: Oct 10, 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.

32. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

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

34. Sauce unregistered

He is the ignorant one lolololol

35. magnanimus

Posts: 565; Member since: Mar 29, 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.

6. PressStart

Posts: 119; Member since: Apr 08, 2014

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

7. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

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

8. domfonusr

Posts: 1070; Member since: Jan 17, 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...

39. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Very well said. +1

12. Vanster

Posts: 124; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

the legend has gone now. . T.T

13. techloverNYC

Posts: 601; Member since: Nov 20, 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.

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