AT&T Releases Nokia E71x

The slim smartphone could be a sign that Nokia will become aggressive in the U.S. market.
Nokia E71x
(click image for larger view)
Nokia E71x

AT&T released the Nokia E71x Monday, and the slim smartphone can be had for $99 with a new two-year contract.

The smartphone is powered by Symbian S60 3.2, which is somewhat unfamiliar to many U.S. smartphone buyers. Symbian is the most widely used smartphone operating system in the world, and it can handle multimedia, Web browsing, messaging, voice services, and text editing. AT&T has also put its branded software on the E71x, including access to its turn-by-turn navigation service.

The handset has a thin and sleek design, and sports a 2.4-inch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard. The E71x can use Wi-Fi, EDGE, and 3G to stay connected, and thanks to deals with IBM and Microsoft, the handset can get access to corporate e-mail on the go.

Nokia's smartphone can play multiple types of video and audio files, and it also has access to XM Radio and AT&T's Cellular Video service. There's also assisted GPS, expandable memory through the microSD slot, a Flash-capable browser, Bluetooth, and a 3.2-megapixel camera.

Although Nokia is the global leader in smartphone sales, it lags far behind Apple, Research In Motion, and Palm in the United States. Part of the reason Nokia has been unable to gain much traction is that it rarely gets carrier subsidies for its high-end devices, which means smartphones like the Nokia N96 go on sale unlocked for more than $600.

The cell phone manufacturer is increasingly focusing on the United States, and it has expanded its research and development activity to design phones that are specific to the U.S. market. It also sees the upcoming open source Symbian as a way for it to capture a larger number of U.S. customers.

Nokia's decision to create the Symbian Foundation and to open up the OS should have major ramifications throughout the smartphone market. InformationWeek evaluated the impact of this move, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing