Nokia Trumpets New XpressMusic Handsets

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Finland’s Nokia today took the wraps off three new XpressMusic mobile phone handsets, aiming to prove that consumers will opt for a device which combined phone capabilities with the features of a dedicated music player.

The Nokia XpressMusic 5300 stores tunes on a microSD expansion card (which Nokia says amounts to about 1,500 tracks on a 2 GB card) and offers dedicates music keys which enable users to control music playback while using other phone functions like text messaging, Internet browsing, or taking pictures. The XpressMusic 5300 is a slider phone with a 320 by 240 pixel LCD, tri-band GPRS/EDGE support, a 1.3 megapixel camera, an integrated FM tuner, Bluetooth and nini-USB connectivity, and offers a 3.5 mm headphone jack for connecting headphones or external speakers. Nokia’s pricing the XpressMUsic 5300 at &euro250, which translates to about $320 USD, but the phones aren’t expected to hit the North American market until early 2007 (which is odd, since they were unveiled in New York. Go figure.) The Nokia XpressMUsic 5200 is more budget-minded, shrinking the display and camera resolution to deliver a lower €200 price (about $250 USD), while the XpressMusic 3250 is a revision to the Nokia 3250 music phone with the twist-around keypad/media controller the company rolled out last year, adding support for microSD cards. They also added a new price tag: €400, or about $510.

Nokia’s hoping to position its new “XpressMusic” brand—perhaps the company’s first stab at naming its phones?—as a viable alternative to dedicated music players like the iPod, extolling high quality audio, dedicated media keys, and smart integration of music and phone functions (tunes pause when calls come in, etc.). The XpressMusic phones all claim to offer 10 or more hours of battery life, the ability to create and edit playlists, and support MP3, WMA, AAC, M4A, and eAAC+ audio—and, of course, they all offer support for over-the-air music services.

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