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CES: Nokia Plans Avalanche Of New Phones For U.S.

Nokia said it will introduce between six to 12 new phones specifically for the U.S. market during 2008 in an attempt to regain market share. The recently announced U.S. version of the N95 8GB is just the tip of the ice berg.
Nokia said it will introduce between six to 12 new phones specifically for the U.S. market during 2008 in an attempt to regain market share. The recently announced U.S. version of the N95 8GB is just the tip of the ice berg.Nokia may be king of the mobile world outside of the U.S., but in the last several years it has slipped to a paltry 11 percent market share here in the states. Motorola, which recently dropped to the world's third-largest manufacturer behind Samsung, continues to hold the top spot in the U.S. To combat its poor market share, Nokia said it is working closer with U.S. network operators to develop handsets specifically meant for the U.S.

Nokia has no doubt released some exciting phones in the past 12 months, but most of them have been world phones meant for sale overseas. It recently announced U.S. versions of its popular N95 8GB device after U.S. consumers showed strong demand for it. Even though the original N95 worked on both T-Mobile's and AT&T's networks, the new U.S. version has 3G radios on board that are compatible with AT&T's 3G network.

According to a Reuters article, Nokia's president of North America Mark Louison said, "It's not unreasonable you'd see between six to 12 new operator-specific devices this year. It'll probably be more than this...You'll see some of that in the first half of 2008, with the velocity to increase that in the second half and going full steam ahead in 2009."

This is encouraging, and also inline with what I've been told by Nokia representatives on previous occasions. Nokia seems to have finally gotten the message that the network operators are in control (for now) in the U.S. If it wants to sell phones here, it has to be a better partner to them.

I look forward U.S.-specific news from Nokia at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in a few weeks and CTIA in early April.

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