Nokia’s sudden move into the netbook market with its Booklet 3G marked a wide departure from its traditional handset business.
For years, Nokia had stuck with the handset market. Early on in the Americas, Nokia handsets were one of the most common entry-level phones when the wireless market was taking off. The manufacturer found a good deal of success in European markets, but later struggled to gain a foothold with mid-tier devices.
“I think their opportunity in the mobile phone market is becoming slimmer and slimmer,” says analyst Jeff Orr with ABI Research. “They don’t want to compete in the low-cost handset market, they really want to expand their product portfolio and they’ve had some rough starts with mid-range handsets.”
Nokia also faces formidable competitors in the premium handset market from the likes of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry and Apple’s iPhone.
The manufacturer’s move into netbooks may be a departure from its status quo but could prove fruitful. Despite the stiff competition for the lightweight miniature laptops, Nokia will not have to unseat a major brand like Apple to establish a presence. Instead, the preliminary information given about the Booklet 3G indicates that it is aimed at the relatively untouched high-end netbook market.
And that is cause for optimism, says Orr. “This looks more like an Apple kind of approach: establishing a brand image in the minds of the audience,” he says. “I think their timing is perfect for that strategy.”
The Nokia Booklet 3G weighs in at 1.25 kilograms and is slightly over two centimeters thin. Features like its built-in 3G HSPA and Wi-Fi will likely put it on the high end of the netbook market.
Exact specifications, market availability and pricing will be announced at Nokia World on Sept. 2.