Nokia (NOK), the world’s largest mobile phone-maker, put out a new one: the N97, which features a touch screen and costs $693 before taxes and subsidies. It’ll hit the market during 2009’s first six months, said CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo in a news conference.
The WSJ calls it an all-in-one phone:
The N-97 has the touch screen popularised by Apple Inc.’s iPhone, a real keyboard that appeals to users of BlackBerrys and Nokia’s own E-Series devices, and fast Wi-Fi Internet access to complement third-generation broadband access.
The phone also has an accelerometer, a widget-friendly OS, a still and videocamera and a 3.5 inch screen.
But other analysts don’t think the phone will do much to help Nokia avoid what’s expected to be a 1% to 9% industry-wide decline in sales next year.
“[Nokia] tried to cram in lots of different technologies such as a touch screen, full qwerty keyboard and plenty of memory, but it had to make trade-offs in its size and features,” CCS Insight’s Research Director Ben Wood told Reuters. “It has ended up with a relatively thick device that lacks some of the benchmark features expected in flagship products in mid-2009.”
Said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi: “It might give Nokia a little edge, but it’s six months until this reaches the market.”
The model we briefly handled tonight in NYC was, of course, the Euro version, with no U.S. 3G (and, sadly, no Wi-Fi). Its handlers were keeping it close to the vest, and with no connectivity there wasn’t much testing to be done, but we can say that the hardware is indeed pretty—befitting a $700 Nokia piece. The desktop Symbian widgets look nice, but the drawbacks of a resistive touchscreen (there, as always, to ensure character recognition via a stylus for Nokia’s Asian market) were immediately noticeable when dragging widgets around the desktop.
Those desperate to see the N97’s every angle should check out Engadget’s slide show.