September 10, 1996

Article at The Age

TECHNOLOGY | Laptop phone the ringer of ‘em all

The Nokia 9000 Communicator 


HANG on to your socks: the future of personal communications is here. It can be found at Pellegrini’s on a rainy day, on the sand at Bondi Beach, or on the 9.12am train to Spencer Street Station. 

It is Nokia’s 9000 Communicator the cellphone/pocket organiser/laptop computer - all rolled into one. With it, you can surf the Web from a tram in Bourke Street, telephone your vet, send e-mail to your friends, fax your mother, or page your boss.

In fact, what you are reading right now was written on one.

Tapping the words on the tiny keyboard, your correspondent wrote this report from a bar stool at Pellegrini’s, the 42- year-old Melbourne coffee institution, and then e-mailed it to Computer Age.

Phill Bertolus, the newspaper’s cellphones columnist, was there too. “Everyone’s been talking about doing this,” he said, sipping a cappuccino. “But actually being able to do it, that’s amazing.”

The remarkably light device, no bigger than a pencil case, was a hit with the clientele.

“I saw this in Wired (a computer-users magazine),” said Chris Sheedy, sound recordist for the Seven Network’s Witness program, who had dropped in for a cafe latte. “My girlfriend is going to die when she hears I’ve seen it in action. We were talking about it all week.”

Steve Capper, marketing manager for the Sydney-based Open Plus International software company, stretched over my shoulder, his eyes alight: “It is real quantum leap stuff,” he said.

“You’re not seeing the future - you’re in the future.”

Mark Fripp, a waiter at Pellegrini’s, finished pulling another short black and leaned across the bar to peer into the tiny screen. “You can see the Internet? Can you send faxes?” He shook his head slowly as we described its capabilities.

“I’ve gotta get one,” he said.

The Communicator, is available in Australia from next week. But you’ll have to save up: the recommended retail price is $3000.