Nokia has unveiled a handheld tabled for browsing the Internet over a wireless broadband connection.

The company says the Internet Tablet will offer online access around the home, although its Wi-Fi transmitter can also connect with public and commercial hot spots.

The device has a 4.1-inch screen and no hard drive - just 128 megabytes of onboard flash memory and a memory card slot. It weighs half a pound and is three-quarters of an inch thick, 5.6 inches wide and 3.1 inches deep. It includes a loudspeaker but no keyboard - it comes with a stylus to tap a virtual keyboard on the screen.

Rather than serving up stripped-down versions of Web pages like most mobile devices, the tablet displays sites as they'd appear on any computer.

It is expected to go on sale this summer for $350 and is based on the open-source Linux operating system rather than the Symbian platform Nokia uses for its "smart" cell phones, explains AP.

Catching on

The Internet Tablet can be seen as another variation on a concept that has repeatedly failed to catch on, writes AP. It explains: "Prominent names from a wide range of technology industries dabbled with Web appliances during the Internet bubble."

Nokia are not the only company looking at such a device. PalmOne unveiled a $500 device called the LifeDrive last week. This device is a mobile media player, portable hard drive and organizer combined, and features 4GB of internal storage and a high-resolution screen for on-the-road access to music, video, digital photos, email and office documents. It also offers Wi-Fi wireless capability to connect to the Web and wireless networks.