Nokia Brings Out iPhone 3G Competitor

The company's first touch-screen phone has GPS, Wi-Fi, a 3.2-megapixel camera, expandable memory, and robust multimedia functions.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Smartphone

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Smartphone
(click for larger image)
With Tuesday's introduction of the 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia is finally launching a touch-screen competitor to Apple's iPhone 3G.

The 5800 has a 3.2-inch resistive touch screen, and it's powered by Symbian S60, fifth edition. The user interface will be somewhat familiar to Symbian users, but the company has tweaked the UI for touch control.

"By adding the benefits of touch-screen technology to S60, the world's leading smartphone interface, Nokia is taking the familiar and giving it a human touch," Nokia VP Jo Harlow said in a statement. "We have used touch technology where it really adds value such as the contacts bar, media bar, and clever shortcuts from the home screen to menu items such as calendar, profiles, and clock."

With a 640-by-360-pixel display, the 5800 can play multiple types of video at a high resolution. Nokia is also emphasizing the handset's audio abilities, and there will be a built-in music player capable of multiple codecs. The handset will come with an 8-GB microSD card for storing this media, and the memory can be expanded up to 16 GB.

Nokia's first touch-screen handset also has a bevy of connectivity options with built-in Wi-Fi and 3G capabilities. These can be used to browse the Internet as well as check e-mail. The 5800 also will have Bluetooth version 2.0, GPS, and a proximity sensor to save battery life and avoid inadvertent touches.

The handset measures in at 4.3 by 2 by 0.6 inches, and it weighs about 3.8 ounces. Nokia said the handset will be available in Europe in the fourth quarter, and it will roll out to other markets in early 2009. The company said a version with its unlimited music download service, Comes With Music, will be available early next year.

Nokia's has much ground to make up in the touch-screen market, as the field is filled with entries from virtually every major phone manufacturer. InformationWeek writer Eric Zeman spent some time with the new handset, and you can read his thoughts here.

Editor's Choice
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
James M. Connolly, Contributing Editor and Writer