Nokia E63 smartphone
(click for larger image)
Nokia is the worldwide leader in the smartphone market, but it trails Research In Motion, Apple, and even struggling Palm in the United States. Part of the problem is the phone manufacturer hasn't been able to get U.S. carriers to pick up and subsidize many of its smartphones.
But Nokia is making a strong push for the U.S. market, and it's bringing the message-centric E63 to the United States unlocked for $279.
"Consumers have stated loud and clear that there is a demand for devices with a QWERTY form factor that are optimized for the United States," said Alessandro Lamanna, VP of sales for Nokia, in a statement.
The E63 shares the sleek and slim design of the E71, but it has a plastic case instead of stainless steel. It's powered by Symbian OS 9.2, Series 60 version 3.1, and it has a 2.3-inch screen that has a 320-by-240 resolution.
Nokia said the handset is a good device for keeping in touch with friends, family, and business contacts, as it can get push e-mail from corporate and personal accounts. There's integrated Wi-Fi for checking e-mail or surfing the Web with the full HTML browser, and the U.S. version can access AT&T's 3G mobile data network.
The company will include its Files on Ovi service, which gives customers remote access to PC files even when their computers are offline. Those buying the E63 will also get 1 GB of storage for free, Nokia said.
The E63 also will be able to play video and audio, and there's a built-in FM radio. Users can expand the memory up to 8 GB via the microUSB slot, and there's Bluetooth version 2.0. Consumers will be able to capture photos and video with the 2-megapixel camera.
Although the E63 will cost more initially than popular handsets like Apple's iPhone 3G and the BlackBerry Storm, users won't be tied to a long-term contract. Selling handsets unlocked is just a small part of Nokia's overall strategy to become a major player in the growing U.S. smartphone market.
"We are investing more in the U.S. market," CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said in an interview. "We are expanding our research and development activity in San Diego. We've got lots of people there designing phones now that are specific to the U.S. needs and the U.S. market."