Nokia’s Five New Phones

Nokia have been accused of some rather dull designs over the past year, whilst Sony Ericsson and Motorola have pushed ahead with fashionable handsets packed with smartphone features.

To combat this, Nokia have just unveiled their new range – five handsets, three of which are clamshell designs. Nokia have steered clear of the clamshell phone format up until now, whilst other manufacturers have embraced it and made it popular. Nokia’s dull phone portfolio may have earned it that drop in market share reported by Gartner: down to 28.9% in Q1 2004, from 34.6% in Q1 2003.

“We have now sharpened our product portfolio in key areas, bringing new phones to the market in the mid-range, and adding more clamshells to our offering,” said Nokia chief executive officer Jorma Ollila.

The three main phones are aimed at business and leisure users, with a further two “affordable”, entry-level models with less features. Having said that, “less features” still manages to include colour displays and some rather nice styling.

The first of the main phones is the 6630, a smartphone based on the Series 60 operating system, and is the first dual-mode tri-band phone for 3G networks. Nokia also claim that it’s the World’s smallest 3G phone. Somehow, they’ve managed to get a megapixel camera and an MP3 player in there too.

For business customers, the 6260 incorporates push to talk technology and a VGA camera into its fold design. Nokia describe it thus: “it is more than just a clamshell, it’s a fold with a twist!” Just stick to designing phones, guys.

The 6170 is another clamshell camera phone, in stainless steel no less, with push to talk and the usual five hundred or so features.

These phones are all interesting because it looks like Nokia are finally starting to listen to the criticism they’ve faced over the last 18 months and are innovating – also what is now classed as an entry-level phone has a level of sophistication unthinkable just two years ago. After network providers accused phone manufacturers of not having suitable handsets available, 3G phones are finally moving into the mass-market.

For my money, Nokia’s new keyboard gadget is a winner. Remember those chat boards that were popular a few years ago for keying in text messages on your mobile? Nokia have a Bluetooth wireless keyboard for all that now, and it even folds up. When GPRS means that email is on the move is much more usable these days, this keyboard will save lots of fingers and eyesight. Just as well, considering how tiny the phones are now.

Nokia’s new phones

Bluetooth keyboard

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?