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6/3/2010
12:30 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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T-Mobile Brings Back S60 With Nokia E73 'Mode'

Nokia and S60 fans have reason to be happy with today's news. T-Mobile is launching the new E73 Mode smartphone on June 16 for just $70. It comes with a full QWERTY keyboard and a five megapixel camera. Nokia pitches it as a business-worthy device. Is it?

Nokia and S60 fans have reason to be happy with today's news. T-Mobile is launching the new E73 Mode smartphone on June 16 for just $70. It comes with a full QWERTY keyboard and a five megapixel camera. Nokia pitches it as a business-worthy device. Is it?Nokia's market presence in the U.S. is well below the 10% mark. Why? The biggest reason is that U.S. carriers haven't been willing to stock Nokia's higher-end devices, such as the N Series and E Series. (The E Series is Nokia's line of business-focused smartphones.) It's pretty significant, then, that Nokia was able to convince T-Mobile to offer the S60-powered E73.

The E73 looks nearly identical to its predecessor, the E72. It is a monoblock style phone with full QWERTY keyboard for messaging. It is similar in basic shape to a BlackBerry, with the keyboard on the front. It has a trackpad for navigating across the screen, and a five megapixel camera around back.

Both the E72 and E71 were solid devices. Can the E73 follow in its footsteps? It will be a tough sell. Despite the consumer-friendly $70 price point, Nokia is pitching the E73 as an enterprise phone.

In the press release, business features mentioned by Nokia include a new email interface, Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync client, IBM Lotus Traveler, Salesforce.co, Bloomberg, Ovi Files, QuickOffice, Adobe PDF Manager and Zip Manager. All solid business tools.

Nokia also points out that the E73 will come pre-loaded with Ovi Maps, which offers free turn-by-turn directions. That's a nice feature to have on a smartphone, and one that is certainly business friendly.

Perhaps most importantly (for Nokia, not for customers), the E73 will ship with the Ovi Store on board. Nokia needs to increase the visibility of its burgeoning apps store. In the U.S., Apple's iPhone App Store, Google's Android Market, RIM's BlackBerry Apps World, and Palm's Apps Catalog all have solid visibility and people know they can go there to get apps. Since the E73 runs the powerful -- though sometimes suffocating -- Symbian S60 operating system, it is capable of running myriad apps. The key here is that Nokia and T-Mobile will allow people to purchase apps from Ovi through their T-Mobile account. That's a major feature that Nokia needs to capitalize on.

In sum, the Nokia E73 does indeed look like a decent enterprise smartphone, though I am sure few businesses will think to adopt it. It is feature rich, attractive, and well priced, but right now enterprises are looking at iPhone, BlackBerry and Android to fulfill their mobile professional needs.

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