Nokia (NOK) is readying a touchscreen smartphone to take on Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone. Few details exist. One obvious one: The phone, code-named “Tube,” will run Symbian, the market-leading smartphone operating system partially owned by Nokia.
So from the get-go, we doubt this is anything close to an iPhone killer. We don’t think Nokia will be able to match Apple in hardware design, and we already know Symbian is no OS X in terms of coolness and elegance.
Still, there’s plenty of hope for Nokia here: With 40% of the world’s mobile market share, Nokia has a built-in sales network that’s much wider than Apple’s. And unlike Apple, Nokia won’t have to demand kickbacks on service fees in exchange for exclusive distribution, which will please carriers. If anything, Nokia should try to sell its iPhone-lookalike with as many carrier partners and in as many countries as possible.
If priced and designed decently, there’s no reason Nokia’s phone won’t do well, especially in places where Apple’s caché and distribution are weak.
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