|Nokia unveils the N8|
Friday, 30 April 2010 02:00
Nokia has revealed details of its first phone with new Symbian 3 software, designed to challenge the iPhone and BlackBerry at the high end of the market.
Last week, Nokia cut its profit outlook and delayed the sales launch of Symbian 3 phones until the third quarter, sending its shares sharply lower.
"Nokia is reacting to the fire alarm," said Swedbank analyst Jari Honko.
Nokia, which has yet to show the phone to journalists or analysts, is counting on the new software to start clawing back market share lost to the company`s new rivals.
However, analysts said the new model and software upgrade at best put Nokia on par with features already available to consumers of Google`s Android software, or Sony Ericsson, which has sold a 12MP camera phone since 2009.
"Symbian 3 is evolutionary not revolutionary, but N8, if reliable, is a first step in efforts to make Nokia`s high-end phones credible again," said Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight.
The new N8 flagship model will have a 12MP camera, 3.5-inch touch-screen and retail for 370 euros, excluding subsidies and taxes, Nokia said in a press release.
Analysts said it was unclear how much of an impact the phone will have on third-quarter results as it goes on sale only in selected markets during the quarter.
"I believe it will slightly calm the markets. It does not solve all of Nokia`s problems, but it is an important first step," said Nordea analyst Sami Sarkamies.
Nokia lacks a top-range model to challenge Apple`s iPhone three years after its launch. Its last high-end hit phone was the N95, which was unveiled in 2006.
"Nokia is expected to catch up with rivals, but we will know more about this only when the first independent reviews are published. The first ones are quite mixed," said Swedbank`s Honko.
The first review of the new phone, published by Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin – who has a strong track record of scooping unveiled Nokia phones – slammed the new model.
"It`s the same as it was before with the same sauce, but with small changes in functionality," Murtazin wrote at www.mobile-review.com.
"We have the impression that ... rival producers have mixed with Nokia and are sabotaging and purposefully destroying the Nokia brand. This is the only explanation to what is happening," he wrote.
Like the iPhone, the new N8 comes with a fixed battery. So far, Nokia phones have as a standard had removable and replaceable batteries.
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