Nokia has introduced three smartphones, the Nokia 600, 700 and 701, which the Finnish mobile manufacturer said are respectively the loudest, smallest and brightest handsets it has ever made.
The devices were unveiled on Wednesday alongside an update to the Symbian operating system, called Belle, which brings support for near-field communication (NFC) functionality, a new notifications system and home screens that can be customised by the user.
"Each of these three new Nokia smartphones not only add new designs, features and performance to our smartphone range, they each represent a very distinct set of unique priorities," said Colin Giles, vice president of sales at Nokia, at a launch event. "We will use Symbian to introduce competitive products that offer more choice at affordable prices to people all over the world."
The Nokia 700 — the company's smallest smartphone — measures 110 by 50.7 by 9.7mm (shown above). It has a 1GHz processor, a 3.2-inch Amoled display, a five-megapixel camera, 2GB of internal memory and support for microSD cards up to 32GB.
In addition, the company said the 700 has been designed making "extensive use of eco-friendly materials and features to minimise battery consumption". The smartphone is scheduled for release in the third quarter and will cost around €270 (£238).
Slightly better specified — and slightly more expensive at €290 — is the Nokia 701, which the handset maker said carries its brightest-ever display, designed to work well both indoors and outdoors.
Based on the Nokia C7, the 701 (shown) has a 3.5-inch screen, a 1GHz processor and an eight-megapixel camera capable of capturing high-definition video. It also provides 8GB of internal storage, expandable up to 40GB using a microSD card.
Like the 700 and 600 models, the phone supports multiple NFC functions. These are single-tap pairing and sharing of content with another Belle-based device; wireless streaming to the NFC Bluetooth Essence headset; and contactless mobile payments and secure entry.
IDC mobile analyst Francisco Jeronimo said features such as these differentiate the Belle-based smartphones from rival devices.
"Nokia has also innovated on the way NFC is used, and makes it appealing to everyone by implementing small but useful NFC features, such as sharing pictures and contacts between phones," he said in a statement.
The Nokia 701 is set to arrive in the third quarter of 2011, according to a spokeswoman for the handset maker.
The cheapest new device is the €180 Nokia 600, described as the company's loudest smartphone to date with a maximum level of106 Phons.
It brings the same Belle OS and NFC support as the other handsets, but focuses more on music playback via features such as an FM radio with internal antenna that can be used without headphones. According to Nokia, it promises 60 hours of music playback from a single battery charge. It also has five-megapixel camera and, unusually for its price range, it comes with a 1GHz processor.
"The new devices unveiled today provide top-in-class specs at affordable prices. The Nokia 600, Nokia 700, and Nokia 701 will be among the cheapest devices running GHz processors," Jeronimo said.
He added that the pace at which Nokia has delivered two Symbian updates — within six months of each other — shows that the handset maker "is still able to move fast, despite a slow start, which is an important sign for a brighter future with Windows Phones".
The Nokia 600 is also due to be released in the third quarter.
The company also announced the Nokia Essence Bluetooth NFC headset, which can be paired with any NFC-enabled smartphone, simply by tapping it against it once. When paired, music can be streamed wirelessly to the Essence.
Nokia said the headset — which can also be used to make or receive calls — uses noise-cancellation technology that eliminates "an unprecedented 99.8 percent" of background noise.
The Essence headset is scheduled to arrive in October and will cost €129.
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