Nokia, in launching the 5800 XpressMusic touchscreen smartphone yesterday, created the strongest competitor thus far to the Apple iPhone 3G.
The new phone, previously code-named Tube, has several features designed to grab the iPhone’s luster. Most significant is Nokia’s Comes With Music service, which also works on the N95 and 5310 XpressMusic handsets, but has been criticized for its business plan.
Features of the 5800 include the Symbian S60 5th Edition operating system, GPS, 3.2-MP camera, tactile feedback and a video-out port. Hardware specifications include 9 hours of GSM talk time, 5 hours of WCDMA talk time, 17 days of standby, 35 hours of music playback, and 3 to 5 hours of video playback depending on format. The phone also has Wi-Fi, 81 MB internal memory and a microSD slot.
It’s important that Nokia is targeting worldwide markets, said Global Insight analyst Peter Boyland. Nokia’s worldwide market share of units shipped is nearly 40%, so the 5800 has a better chance at global success than at U.S. success, he said. The iPhone’s attractiveness is starting to wear off in the wake of technical problems, third-party software controversy and the increasing competitive options, he noted.
That’s not to say Nokia should take success for granted. The company has its own issues to confront, such as S60’s reputation for being slow and maintaining its huge scale.
Nokia said the phone will be available sometime in the fourth quarter this year, although that’s probably only in a few overseas markets. Its mainstream launch is not expected until early in 2009. The price before taxes and subsidies is approximately $385.