Nokia has kicked off this year's 3GSM conference with a raft of new products for work and play.
Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, head of the Finnish phone-maker, took the wraps off three additions to the company's Eseries of business handsets, and a new device primed for the DVB-H flavour of mobile TV.
Speaking today in Barcelona, Kallasvuo told delegates: "It is estimated only 30 percent [of workers] even have mobile phones. You can do the maths — this translates into a huge potential and things are changing fast."
The trio includes the E61i, an updated version of the "NokiaBerry" email device; the E65 slider; and the E90, a revamped edition of the Communicator, often known as "the brick". All three will use the Symbian S60 platform.
The E90 comes with a 3.2-megapixel camera, HSDPA and LAN connectivity and a large four-inch screen, as well as integrated GPS. The E61i emailer will be thinner than its predecessor; it will have shortcut keys to popular apps such as email and will also come with a camera, a new development for the Eseries. The E65 will be the first slider phone and will support all the usual suspects of business apps including email and mobile device management.
Nokia's E90 Communicator
Since the Eseries of business devices was launched in 2005, Nokia says it has sold more than two million phones, and in excess of 1.2 Intellisync email licences after it acquired the company around a year ago.
Kallasvuo added that he expects Nokia phones to become the main way of accessing the internet globally. "It is expected the installed base will exceed the amount of laptops already this year," he said.
The N77 will be the second of Nokia's using the DVB-H standard and will come in a slightly more prosaic form — a candybar — than its predecessor, the showy 770.Kallasvuo said: "The N77 will play a key role in starting to take mobile TV to mainstream use", adding that it will be available in the second quarter of this year. He said he expects to see DVB-H "follow the success of GSM and wideband CDMA".
Despite a number of pilots in the UK, no operators have committed to launching a DVB-H service in the country. Lack of available spectrum and debate over the level of consumer interest are holding back deployments, industry watchers believe.
Virgin Mobile was the first company to launch a commercial broadcast service but take-up has reportedly been low to date.
A third option, MediaFLO mobile TV technology touted by Qualcomm, is being trialled by BSkyB in the UK.
Jonas Geust, Nokia's vice president of multimedia, denied that the clip culture of YouTube et al will dominate mobile TV consumption in future. "Consumers are very satisfied with the services. There is clear demand for TV as we all know it... They are in no sense contradictory as I see it."