February 12, 2007 7:13 AM PST
New Nokia phones call up Net from Barcelona
"The worlds of mobility and the Internet are merging," Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said during a press conference. "The products we are launching today reflect some key areas that we believe become part of a new connected life and where we will start to see much more widespread adoption."
Nokia announced three additions to its E series phones specifically designed for business users: the E61i, a thin BlackBerry competitor; the E65, a stylish slider; and the E90, a device with high-speed 3G connectivity that uses the next-generation technology HSDPA as well as integrated Wi-Fi.
"Only 30 percent of companies have mobile phones deployed throughout their work force," Kallasvuo said. "That translates into a huge opportunity for us."
Nokia also introduced the 6110 Navigator, the company's first navigation-enabled handset designed for the mass market. Kallasvuo said he expects similar mapping and navigating functionality to soon be embedded as a standard feature on a wide range of Nokia phones and multimedia devices.
Along with the business-focused phones, the company revealed the first handset developed for streaming TV, the Nokia N77 multimedia computer. The device is designed to be used on networks that use the mobile-TV broadcasting technology DVB-H. Nokia predicts that the technology will be embedded in between 5 million and 10 million units by the end of 2008 and in about 20 million units by the end of 2009.
The N77 features a wide 2.4-inch screen, stereo sound and alerts when programs are starting. It also has a guide to view program information, browse TV channels and purchase new channels. The device is expected to start shipping during the second quarter of 2007.
Consumers in North America shouldn't get too excited about the slew of products rising to the surface; all of the new phones are set to be available only in Europe and Asia.
Kallasvuo acknowledged a need for stronger presence in the U.S. market, and he pointed out that Nokia has already established a research and development center in the United States to figure out how to better serve the market. He also mentioned that Nokia has been chosen to help build the infrastructure for Sprint Nextel's 4G WiMax network, which he hopes will provide inroads to handset sales. Kallasvuo said a WiMax-compatible Nokia handset will be available early next year.
Other competitors--notably Apple, with its iPhone--are proactively addressing the U.S. market for smart phones. When asked about Apple's emergence into the handset market, Kallasvuo said he welcomed the competition.
"We welcome Apple to this market," he said. "Now they just need to turn mind share into market share. Converged devices are taking market share from single-purpose devices. And these combination devices are already common from Nokia."