Nokia New Product Drive

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Nokia today unveiled several new devices and services as it continues its high-profile expansion into new product areas amid declining profits. The world’s largest handset vendor used its annual ‘Nokia World’ event – this year held in Stuttgart, Germany – to showcase the Nokia N97 mini, two new devices supporting its ‘Comes With Music’ service, and an application in partnership with Facebook. Nokia’s N97 mini is a smaller version of its predecessor, featuring a tilting 3.2 inch display, QWERTY keyboard and a fully customisable homescreen. It is expected to begin shipping next month for EUR450 before taxes and subsidies. Its new X3 and X6 music phones will launch in the fourth quarter and retail for EUR115 and EUR450, respectively. Both new X-series devices support Nokia’s unlimited download Comes With Music application, which has received mixed reviews from initial launches in Europe and Asia but is marketed as a far cheaper rival to Apple’s iTunes music library. News of the new devices comes as reports yesterday suggested the US launch of the service has been delayed until 2010. Meanwhile, the company also announced the ‘Lifecasting with Ovi’ service, claimed to be the first application to let people publish their location and status updates directly to their Facebook account from the homescreen of a mobile device. Other product launches at the event included the Nokia Mini Speaker MD-9 and the Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-505.

These developments are the latest efforts by Nokia to expand its business in new directions as it aims to broaden its focus in light of stronger handset competition from the likes of Apple, Samsung and LG. Just last week the company unveiled its first netbook, its first smartphone based on its Linux-based Maemo platform, as well as a new mobile money service (‘Nokia Money’). As promised, Nokia provided pricing details today on the netbook and Maemo smartphone. Its Booklet 3G netbook will ship at a price of EUR575 whilst the Linux-based N900 smartphone will cost around EUR500. The company also last week said it will establish a new ‘Solutions’ unit that will integrate its offerings of consumer services and mobile phones. Capping off a busy few weeks for the Espoo-based vendor, last month it announced an alliance with Microsoft under which it will develop a mobile version of the Office software suite for its handsets.

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