HELSINKI, Finland - A new version of the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet will include a Google Inc. program that enables users to talk to each other and exchange instant messages over the Internet, the world's largest mobile phone maker said Monday.
The application, Google Talk, will be pre-loaded onto the handheld device, which is Nokia's first mobile gadget that's not a cell phone but supports wireless broadband access for Web surfing and e-mail.
Google and Nokia are expected to announce the upgrade at an event Tuesday in Stockholm, said a Nokia spokesman who asked not to be identified. He declined to provide other details, such as the whether the $360 price tag will change with the update.
Originally unveiled a year ago, the Nokia 770 runs Linux-based Nokia Internet Tablet 2005 software. Nokia previously said it would upgrade the operating system this year and support Internet-based telephone service and instant messaging.
Like similar mobile devices that offer Internet access without requiring a full-blown PC, the tablet has so far failed to take off. One reason, observers say, is that it could not be used as a mobile phone.
Google Talk is expected to help make the tablet more useful, though the latest communications features will be more limited than a standard cell phone.
"This is a logical development. Nokia is now really trying out other things that diverge from the basic cell phone," said Jussi Hyoty, chief analyst at FIM Securities in Helsinki.
"It's the kind of thing that we'll see more of, and by the end of the decade we are going to have all kinds of different features on mobile phones or mobile computing devices," he added.
Nokia, based in Espoo just outside the Finnish capital, sells phones in 130 countries and employs 62,000 people. In 2005, the company's mobile-device sales surged 28 percent to a record 265 million units.