Nokia Debuts New Line of Multimedia Computers

Nokia on Tuesday announced new handheld devices that it said will blur the lines between the Internet world, mobility and the consumer electronics industry.

Nokia’s new Nseries multimedia phones combine connectivity with mobile technology, an approach that Anssi Vanjoki, executive vice president and general manager of Multimedia at Nokia, called the next leap forward in personal computing.

“In particular, the Nokia N95 is the evolution of what computers have now become — pocketable devices with the power to connect you to the information, services, content and other people you want when it suits your needs,” Vanjoki said.

Multimedia, he added, is the fastest growing segment in the mobile space. Nokia has sold more than 10 million Nseries phones this year.

Handheld Computers

Nokia described the N95 as an “all-in-one multimedia computer” with a programmable operating system that allows users to download and install software applications. Unlike mobile phones, the N95 lets people add features and applications without having to buy a new device, Nokia said.

“Consider Nokia’s motivations with the Nseries — margin enhancement, brand building and value-added service,” John Jackson, director of Yankee Group’s wireless/mobile technologies decision service, told TechNewsWorld. “Nokia is trying to insinuate itself into the content domain. Nokia is encroaching upon the consumer electronics, Internet and multimedia domains.”

Nokia’s Nseries is “encroaching” upon these spaces with integrated GPS (global positioning system) functionality, a 5 megapixel camera and support for high-speed mobile networks. The phone is designed to encourage users to watch and record videos, listen to songs, take high-quality photos, browse the Internet, or check e-mail on the fly.

Finding the Passion

“It’s not just about having a powerful device in your pocket,” Vanjoki said. “We are also creating unique experiences that enable people to connect to their passions and take their passions with them wherever they go.”

Nokia also wants to help its customers get wherever they want to go. The Nokia N95 includes the Maps application with country, region and world maps that allow users to explore the world, find specific routes or locate services such as restaurants and hotels in more than 100 countries.

“Nokia knows that in the long-term, there’s not a lot of value in simply being a hardware supplier to the carriers,” Jackson contended. “It’s not sufficient to just throw Chocolate phones to Verizon. You need to participate in that revenue stream in a more creative way.”

New Music Editions

Nokia also unveiled music editions of three Nokia Nseries multimedia computers, the Nokia N70, Nokia N73 and Nokia N91 8 GB. These phones boast dedicated music access keys, the Nokia PC Suite, and new software for sync and music management.

Forty independent music experts are working with Nokia to createMusic Recommenders, a way for music enthusiasts to stay in touch with music across continents and genres.

Once registered, subscribers can receive an instant playlist of 30-second samples tailored to their tastes and purchase the tracks they like. Once a month, users will receive the latest recommendations and editorial features direct to their e-mail inbox.

“Nokia’s ideas about who relevant target markets are don’t necessarily jibe with Cingular or Verizon’s. It’s not very ambiguous what Nokia is after here. Nokia wants you to think of them as your lifestyle device for music, messaging, video and phone,” Jackson concluded.

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