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Nokia Touts Fast Downloads at Comdex

Nokia is previewing a new phone that doubles download speeds and integrates features once found only in PCs and personal digital assistants.

The Nokia 6200, touted as the industry's first EDGE (Enhanced Data-Rates for GSM Evolution) handset, is being showcased at this week's Comdex trade show in Las Vegas. Aimed at business users, the device is in testing and will be available early next year, reportedly selling for $250 to $350, depending on the retailer.

A spokeswoman for the Finnish handset maker was not immediately available for further details. In a statement, John Barry, director of Nokia's mobile phone unit, said, "What people want is effortless mobility, value-add applications and services, and fast, simple access to information on the go."

The EDGE wireless standard alleviates some voice traffic bandwidth and enables higher data throughput. The platform, which is being embraced by At&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless, is well-suited for rich-content programming and services, offerings that carriers believe users will pay more for.

The phone itself has a high-resolution, color screen (something analysts say is attractive to buyers) designed for browsing and a keyboard with large buttons to enter text. Crisp images can be sent and received over MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service). For audio, the Nokia 6200 boasts a stereo FM radio and voice recording features.

Personal data from the calendar, address book and to-do lists can also be synchronized over the air with a network server or locally with a PC using infrared or data cable to keep information updated.

But beyond bells and whistles, the Nokia 6200's key selling point is speed. Users can download content, applications, access Internet and intranet information at data rates approximately two times (up to 118 kbps) conventional dial-up (56 kbps).

Finally, the Nokia 6200 supports GSM networks at 850 and 1900Mhz, and for countries such as Brazil. Inclusion of the 1800MHz band allows the phone to operate in much Europe and Asia as well.

In other product news from Comdex, Nokia introduced the Nokia 6340i, the first phone that can operate on every network available from TDMA operators on a GSM evolution path.

In addition it unveiled two imaging devices -- one for consumers and one for enterprise users -- demonstrating MMS interoperability between both different carriers and different air-interface technologies.

Editor's note: Due to a reporter's error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the location of Nokia's headquarters. The company is based in Finland.