AT&T today announced a fresh new lineup of smartphones. The new devices will arrive in AT&T stores and online in the coming weeks.
AT&T debuted the Nokia E71x and the Samsung Propel Pro. In addition, the Samsung Impression and Samsung Magnet and LG Xenon and Neon expand the number of full-keyboard mobile phones in AT&T’s lineup to seven.
The Nokia E71x is of particular interest because the world’s largest cell phone maker has not had a strong U.S. smartphone presence. The E71x will be available in the coming weeks for $99.99 with a two-year contract and features a black steel finish.
The E71 version has been available in Europe for some time now, but the Nokia E71x is exclusive to AT&T and was specifically tailored to meet its needs, with additions like AT&T navigator and music services. The E71x also runs on a more recent version of the S60 platform.
Nokia has done well with its smartphones worldwide but it hasn’t managed to take a top spot in the United States. Roger Entner, senior vice president of communications sector for Nielsen, said he thinks Nokia has lost market share in the United States because it has traditionally been slow to release its products here.
“I think in the end, Nokia makes great devices and then launches it six months late in the United States,” he said. “I don’t think it’s poor marketing in general, it’s just that the U.S carriers very often feel like they’re getting the warmed over stuff from six months ago. They would like to have it at the same time as the rest of the world.”
Unless something changes, carriers in the United States will be inclined to go with those device makers that work with them, he said. “They’ll continue to go with the guys –
BlackBerry and iPhone – who are able to launch with them, either first or globally. That’s in the end what I think it boils down to.”
An Avian Securities research note today predicts the E71x will be a solid No. 3 at AT&T behind the iPhone and BlackBerry smartphone franchises. Analysts noted that the E71x is an important milestone for Nokia as it works with leading North American carriers to get its higher-end/smartphones onto carriers’ shelves at subsidized prices.