Nokia enters PC business with Booklet 3G netbook

The handset manufacturer has announced a netbook that includes many of the same features as its high-end smartphones

Nokia is set to move into the PC market with the introduction of its Booklet 3G netbook, the handset manufacturer announced on Monday.

The Nokia Booklet 3G will provide up to 12 hours of battery life. The mini-laptop will also, like many of Nokia's latest smartphones, have integrated mobile broadband, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and assisted GPS (A-GPS).

"A growing number of people want the computing power of a PC with the full benefits of mobility," said Nokia device chief Kai Öistämö in a statement.

"We are in the business of connecting people, and the Nokia Booklet 3G is a natural evolution for us. Nokia has a long and rich heritage in mobility and with the outstanding battery life, premium design and all-day, always-on connectivity, we will create something quite compelling."

Nokia's Booklet 3G will weigh 1.25kg and will be just over 2cm thick, Nokia said. It will have a 10-inch glass, HD-ready screen and also include an HDMI port. The fanless device will be powered by Intel's 1.6GHz Atom Z530 processor, Nokia told ZDNet UK.

The Booklet 3G will "widen the Nokia portfolio, satisfying a need in the operator channel", the company said. It described the device as Microsoft Windows-based, but did not specify which flavour of Windows would be used.

The first images of the netbook from the company show an un-Windows-like user interface. Asked whether the Booklet 3G will come with a Nokia-specific user interface for some of its functionality, a company spokesperson said that no further details will be made available until the Nokia World event next week.

Nokia gained a foothold in PC user-interface development when it bought software-development company Trolltech in early 2008. It went on to rename the company 'Qt Software', after its main product Qt — a graphical toolkit that is widely used in open-source and proprietary user interface development.

In June, Nokia announced a partnership with Intel that would see the two companies work together on the Linux-based Moblin netbook operating system, among other things.

Gartner principal analyst Ranjit Atwal said on Monday that the Booklet 3G would be notable for the way in which Nokia will use operators to sell it. "It's not just about PCs — it's about what the operators are getting out of this," Atwal said. "It allows them to transfer more data over the networks, and it looks like the PC is the device individuals are using to achieve that."

Asked why he thought Nokia had chosen to release a Windows-based netbook rather than one using Moblin, Atwal said this choice would have been made "to get a quick ramp-up of business and acceptability in the PC area".

"To [release the device] to consumers in the fourth quarter, Windows would be the quickest and best platform for Nokia," Atwal said. "They may develop other platforms further out."


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