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Nokia mounts bikes for mobile charging

The handset maker has launched an innovative phone-charging kit powered by a bicycle dynamo and dual-SIM phones, among a range of mobile products aimed at emerging markets
By David Meyer, Contributor
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1 of 4 David Meyer/ZDNET

Nokia has launched a range of low-cost phones, including two with dual-SIM capacity, and an innovative phone-charging kit for cyclists. The handset manufacturer, which has a major presence in emerging markets, held the launch in Nairobi on Thursday.

The Nokia Bicycle Charger Kit provides a charger, a dynamo and a holder for securing the handset to the bike's handlebars. Most Nokia phones can be charged using the system, as long as they use the manufacturer's 2mm charging jack.

"Bicycles are the most widespread means of transport in many markets around the world, so this is just one more benefit to be gained from an activity people are already doing," Nokia vice president Alex Lambeek said in a statement. "This is a great solution to a real challenge, whether people will use it due to limited access to electricity or to be more environmentally responsible."

According to Nokia, the charging kit will be available before the end of the year.

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2 of 4 David Meyer/ZDNET

Several new Nokia C-series handsets were introduced on Thursday, including the two dual-SIM phones.

Although some relatively obscure Asian manufacturers have been making dual-SIM handsets for a while, the devices have remained rare in western markets. The Nokia C1, pictured above, costs €30 (£25) before taxes and subsidies. Due for release in the third quarter of 2010, it can take two SIM cards, which the user can switch between by holding down one of the keys.

"This enables them to take advantage of reduced call rates, flexibility when traveling from one country to another, or helps with sharing a phone within a family and still use their own SIM," Lambeek said. "This is a great added convenience feature, considering the low price of the phone."

According to the manufacturer, the C1 has the longest ever stand-by time for a Nokia phone, at six weeks.

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The Nokia C1 has a built-in flashlight, along with a colour screen and an FM radio. The handset comes with a standard headphone jack.

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Unlike the C1, which can only keep one SIM active at a time, the Nokia C2 is a dual-SIM handset that makes it possible to receive calls and text messages to two numbers simultaneously.

One SIM card resides underneath the battery. The second is more easily accessible and can be 'hot-swapped', meaning it can be replaced or inserted without turning the phone off.

The €45 C2, which is due towards the end of the year, also has an FM radio, a music player, microSD card support and Ovi Mail. The device also provides Nokia's SMS-based Ovi Life Tools facilities, which are tailored for emerging markets. The tools deliver information on subjects such as healthcare, education and agriculture.

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