Nokia Goes Social with 32 GB N97 Smartphone

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Opening with a bang in Barcelona today, Finland’s Nokia announced its forthcoming Nokia N97 “personal Internet device”—we understand it will also make phone calls—in a bid to take on BlackBerry and Apple for the top position in the consumer-friendly smartphone market. Designed to appeal to Internet- and media-savvy consumers, the N97 features a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, a complete slide-out QWERTY keyboard (a virtual keyboard is also available), 32 GB of built-in storage, a five megapixel camera, and interface innovations designed to appeal to serious mobile users…like an “always open” window to keep tabs on social networking services.

“From the desktop to the laptop and now to your pocket, the Nokia N97 is the most powerful, multi-sensory mobile computer in existence,” said Nokia Nseries NP Jonas Geust, in a statement. “The Nokia N97 mobile computer adjusts to the world around us, helping stay connected to the people and things that matter most.”

And the N97 delivers in the specs department, offering tri-band HSDPA 3G connectivity, along with 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking. The 3.5-inch screen sports a 640 by 360-pixel resolution, and the 5 megapixel video-capable camera offers Carl Zeiss optics and an LED flash. The N97 packs 32 GB of built-in storage, and a microSD slot means users can carry another 16 GB of their favorite data with them as well. The N97 also features a built-in accelerometer (so it can shift automatically between widescreen and portrait modes), an integrated compass, along with integrated A-GPS for location-based services. A revamped interface enables users to keep tabs on (and send updates to) their favorite social networking services and Web sites, and the built-in Web browser supports Flash.

Nokia expects to begin selling the N97 sometime during the first half of 2009 at an estimated price of €550 before taxes and subsidies.

Nokia has also announced Maps and Mail for its Ovi collection of mobile services. Maps enables users to pre-plan a trip using a PC and synchronize the routing information with their mobile phones; in the next few months, Nokia will roll out functionality to enable users to save and organize places and routes, share them with friends, and even edit them after the fact. Meanwhile, Nokia’s new Mail on Ovi service aims to bring mobile email to to wide range of users, providing a single mailbox users can access via a Web browser or their phone, as well as tap into third-party services like Hotmail, Gmail, AOL Mail, and Yahoo Mail, as well as every day ISPs. Messaging for Ovi enables users to communicate via instant messaging with users of Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, and AIM. Mail and Messaging will work with some 200 million devices Nokia has already shipped, potentially opening up mobile email to millions of mobile users around the world.

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