Nokia have released phones with radios incorporated in them for some time — but the 7700 is somewhat different as it incorporates a service that Nokia has termed “Visual Radio”. Listeners to participating stations can interact through their phones – polls, artist information, ringtones are all displayed in 7700’s browser whilst they listen a radio show. Helsinki’s Kiss FM will be the first station to offer the interactive services.
Adding interactivity to a radio programme through a browser (rather than streaming the programme to the phone) allows Nokia to avoid rights issues and save bandwidth. To us this seems like a good stopgap, but streaming directly to the phone offers so much more functionality that it won’t be too long before someone sorts out the rights nightmare and produces a proper internet audio/video phone.
Nokia will no doubt be analysing what users do with the new interactive features from radio stations – cookies and server logs will show them which features are popular. If successful, charging for ringtones and extras from stations will be a nice revenue channel for Nokia and its radio partners.
The look of the phone could best be described as “funky” — Nokia seem to be getting further and further away from traditional mobile phone design with every new iteration of their products.