Correction 5 p.m. PDT: The Nokia N97 is not yet being sold in Europe, and AT&T sells the E71x with a two-year contract. The E71 is an unlocked version of the phone. The article has been changed to reflect this.
Clarification 5 p.m. PDT: See below for more information about data plans that can be used with the N97 through AT&T.
For a company that has said it wants to be a player in the U.S. market, it doesn't look like Nokia is trying very hard.
On Tuesday the mobile phone giant said its flagship smartphone, the N97, which was announced in December, has gone on sale in the U.S. at the whopping price tag of $699. This price isn't that shocking considering the phone will also be offered in Europe for a comparable price. But in the U.S. where consumers are accustomed to paying $200 for a smartphone, it seems a bit ridiculous.
The reason the price of the N97 is still so high is that Nokia is not selling it through any particular carrier. Instead it will be sold to U.S. customers in Nokia flagship stores in New York and Chicago as well as online.
Nokia has made other phones for the U.S. market and has also sold them without carrier backing. The N95, the previous generation N-series Nokia phone sold in the U.S., retails for about $369 to $468, according to Nokia. In April of 2007, when the phone was first introduced, it sold for about $750 to $800. But a phone priced at $700 in the U.S. market is likely to be too high for U.S. consumers, especially when most devices sell here for $200.
Nokia also couldn't have picked a worse time to debut the N97 in the U.S. market, which happens to be just days after two of the most anticipated smartphones of the year have been launched. On Monday, Apple announced its latest phone, the iPhone 3G S, which will go on sale next week. And on Saturday, Palm started selling the much-hyped Pre.
Each of these devices can be bought for far less than the Nokia N97. The 16GB iPhone 3G S will sell for $199. And the 32GB model, which has the same amount of built-in memory as the N97, will cost $299 when the phones go on sale next week. Apple has also cut the price of its 8GB iPhone 3G, introduced last year, to only $99. The Pre, which also has a slide-out QWERTY keypad and a touch screen like the N97, is $199 with a $100 mail-in rebate.… Read more