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Nokia Launches the N97 To Keep Up With The Internet, Google vs Apple vs Nokia Heats Up

image*Nokia* may be the largest handset maker in the world, but the big question is: will wireless incumbents like Nokia (NYSE: NOK), or newcomers like Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Google (NSDQ: GOOG), be the ones to thrive in an industry that is increasingly focused on the mobile Internet? Today, Nokia’s unveiling the N97 (right, click to enlarge), which is the company’s best chance at staying relevant in the fast-paced and increasingly competitive industry. Nokia has done a good job of keeping this project under wraps, so this morning will be the first time pictures of the phone and the device’s specifications will be made public. Nokia will make the at announcement at Nokia World in Barcelona today at 9:15 a.m. CET, which is just a little past midnight on the West Coast.

Based on early information Nokia provided to the press before the announcement, the phone looks like an HTC Tilt, but behaves like the T-Mobile G1, and easily beats both the iPhone and G1 when it comes to a number of features and specifications, like the 5-megapixel camera, video-recording capabilities and support for Adobe’s Flash. What’s unclear at this point is how open the device will be. With Nokia’s increasing focus on building Internet services themselves, the company may be tempted to make another walled garden, where access for competing services is limited or difficult. But if early indications are worth anything, that won’t be the case this time around. In the past, Nokia has fostered relationships with other companies and services, like Facebook and YouTube — and those services look like they have already earned a potential seat on the device’s homescreen.

More details on the device after the jump:

The shape: The handset looks startlingly like the HTC Tilt, which is sold by AT&T (NYSE: T), in the U.S. The phone has a slide out Qwerty keyboard, with a screen that is angled at a tilt. The touchscreen is a 3.5-inch display.

User-interface: Although the phone may look like at Tilt, it acts like the T-Mobile G1, which operates on the Google Android operating system. The user interface is made up of a number of widgets, such as social networks, calendar, contacts, clock, email and music. The user can simply drag and drop the widgets around to customize the homescreen.

Services: The phone stresses integration with Nokia’s Internet services from Ovi, and also provides access to Nokia’s music store, however, it’s also open to other social networks, like Facebook and MySpace. For location purposes, the phone is integrated with A-GPS and a compass, which allows you to update social networks automatically and mark the location of pictures of videos, Nokia calls this so-lo for “social location.” The N97 supports Flash videos, which beats both the iPhone and the T-Mobile G1.

Specifications: The N97 supports up to 48 GB of storage, including 32 GB of on-board memory, expandable with a 16 GB microSD card. It has a 5-Megapixel camera with high-quality Carl Zeiss optics, a DVD-like video capture. All of these things beat the iPhone and T-Mobile G1.

Availability: The N97 will begin shipping in the first half of 2009 at an estimated retail price of EUR 550 ($694) before taxes or carrier subsidies. No word on what markets it will launch in, or whether it will come to the U.S., where the company has not historically done well. A carrier subsidy would help the phone reach a mass consumer base.

7 Responses to “Nokia Launches the N97 To Keep Up With The Internet, Google vs Apple vs Nokia Heats Up”

  1. I won't get the iphone cuz it has no video camera. And it forces you to pay for the internet whether you want it or not. What if you lose your job or something? I like the ideaa of a keypad. I wish it was set up to "find" things like my old faitlful Palm. I need something new and have bought and returned 4 phones. Hope the N97 is the one?

  2. Ray, Kingston jamaica

    Ahhh, refreshing. Finally a phone I will buy. Iphone no kwerty, not for me. All the others were a joke with on board storage.
    In all seriousness. The comparison with iphone is inevitable so i might as well go there. I just cudnt see myself jumping on the iphone bandwagon when it was released with 4gb, then 8, then 16, even 32. I wont even consider it til its 64gb.
    After coming from a 160gb ipod.Are you kidding me? And dont give me any crap about hard drive based and flash based, i dont care. This phone is a much better buy and im getting it. As a matter of fact, im glad its not out yet. I need to save some more, even if its for next christmas. Im aspiring to own this thing.

  3. Finally the need of the consumer has been taken into consideration by someone.. thats Nokia with its new N97. Even if the features physically seems to be like the G1 and i Phone, i am impressed by the internal features like the memory which is said to be 32GB inbuilt and extend able by 16GB via a micro SD card. Todays consumers need is to stay connect to the internet in a easy manner wherever they are and for that computing they need more and more of memory which Nokia has understood and come up with the N97. This feature will boom the market of N97. other feature like the flash player and the 5MP carl Zeiss are not that much needed by the corporate consumers.
    As observed since long Nokia has not made any major impact on the US market, but now by launching this new N97, it holds a great prospect towards the US market as now the consumers will find the N97 to be more powerful tool as compared to the others like the i Phone or the G1.
    only feature that will attract a lot of consumers are the extra huge memory, and the mobile computing facility at the best.
    Competitors have to become more innovative and alert now.

  4. This is going to be a GREAT phone and I think those who got let down with the Xperia will be condoled by the N97. However, I don't think it will be better than the G1 or iPhone because of the software.

    I've been looking high and low for "new" information on the phone and seem to find a lot of the same regurgitated stuff but here is a nice little resource that organizes it all:

  5. I'm finally impressed with a Handset maker that understands the iphone threat. RIMM released an iphone competitive product that shipped with less than 1GB of memory. Then at the last minute included an 8GB card. That is the most idiotic think I ever hurd of. RIMM fail to understand that its about mobile computing which requires more memory. I'm so glad that Nokia finally got right with a minimum of 32GB of on board memory. Apple will have to consider the N97 as a major threat.

    Nokia's only mistake is the keyboard. The camera and Flash are not important to most users and will not sway an Apple buyer.

    I also believe that Nokia should immediately launch the N97 in the USA as RIMM's offering is grossly inadequate which gives them a chance of upstaging RIMM for US market share.