New Nokia Phones Go Thin, QWERTY
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Nokia (NYSE: NOK), the world's top mobile phone maker, unveiled two new models for corporate clients on Monday, revamping its somewhat aging business line.
Nokia E66 and E71
The new sliding model E66, and the E71, with full keyboard, both start shipping in July and will retail for around $538, excluding operator subsidies and local taxes.
Models for corporate clients usually last longer in phone makers' portfolios than the consumer-focused phones, but nine months have already passed since Nokia introduced the E51, its last phone model for corporate clients.
Nokia sells 40 percent of all phones sold globally, but the market for business users who look for fast access to their e-mails on the road is dominated by Research In Motion's (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry devices and service.
"The business market is becoming increasingly competitive and highly segmented, so these new products are critical new additions to Nokia's E series lineup," said Geoff Blaber, an analyst at research firm CCS.
Since Nokia introduced the E51 model, rivals, including RIM and Sony Ericsson, have come out with new models for business users, intensifying competition in the sector.
"We will see a swathe of new products from RIM, Palm and a number of Windows Mobile licensees in the coming quarters, so it was essential that Nokia strengthened its portfolio," said CCS's Blaber.
Both new Nokia phones will have 3.2-megapixel cameras and built-in GPS receivers for navigation.
The Nokia E71 is 10 millimeters thick, the thinnest phone with a full QWERTY keyboard in the world, Nokia said.
"Users around the world, in general, have started to use more and more QWERTY devices," Soren Petersen, a director at Nokia's devices unit, told a news conference.