Nokia Intends To Rebuild U.S. Share


London - Nokia is not turning back from rebuilding its market share in the U.S. and has been developing U.S.-focused handsets through a dedicated R&D facility in the U.S., said Colin Giles, senior VP and global head of sales.

Although those handsets haven't reached the market yet, other handsets on the U.S. market have already "prioritized a number of U.S. requirements" to help gain carrier sell-in, including stricter RF requirements, carriers' general network requirements, and user-interface requirements, he said

Speaking here via conference call to the U.S. press from the two-day Nokia World event, Giles admitted that the "stumbling block" that held back U.S. share had been "a lack of understanding of the U.S. market," including such things as RF requirements. The company, he admitted, had been "building products for the global market, but they weren't tailored well enough for the U.S."

Now, a U.S.-based R&D facility is designing U.S.-specific products, taking into account operator requirements "very early in the R&D process," he said without saying when the phones would be available.

At its global event here, the company expanded its global Symbian ^3-based smartphone selection with three more models to join the previously announced N8. Giles said he expects them to "perform well" in the U.S., although agreements with U.S. carriers weren't announced. Nokia has been "talking to [U.S.] operators about the N8 and other products in the pipeline" and has received "positive feedback from U.S. operators about Symbian ^3," he said.

The new OS adds more than 250 new features and improvements and is "faster, easier to use, more efficient and more developer-friendly," a company statement said.

Although Nokia plans to "re-enter the U.S. market," Giles noted, it will do so on a "step-by-step" basis. As a result, in 3G smartphones, the company will "launch with what we do best," and "we do W-CDMA [HSDPA and HSPA] really well," he said. Longer term, the company will develop an LTE roadmap. "That's the strategy," he said, implying that smartphones for use in Verizon Wireless and Sprint CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A networks are not in the offing.

The four new Symbian smartphones launched here use W-CDMA technology, which AT&T and T-Mobile use in the U.S.

The phones are the previously announced

Nokia N8

and the newly announced Nokia E7, Nokia C7 and Nokia C6.

The N8, available unlocked to U.S. consumers AT $549 through Nokia's website, is Nokia's flagship phone, featuring 3.5- inch AMOLED capacitive multitouch touchscreen, marking the company's first use of AMOLED technology, which offers better viewing angles, colors and battery efficiency, the company said.

The N8, which lacks hard QWERTY keyboard, also features ARM 11 680 MHz processor, multiple customizable home screens, 12-megapixel camera, Carl Zeiss Optics Lens, Xenon flash, 720p HD camcorder and HDMI output. It also features HSDPA, Wi-Fi, assisted-GPS, Bluetooth, 16GB embedded memory and access to Nokia's Ovi store for downloadable apps.

The Nokia E7, said to include such enterprise functions such as  Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, features 4-inch touchscreen with Nokia ClearBlack technology for improved outdoor visibility. It has a slide-from-the-side QWERTY keyboard, and the touchscreen angles up when the keyboard is exposed. Its estimated retail is 495 euros, excluding taxes and subsidies.

The Nokia C7 touchscreen-only phone is positioned as a social-networking phone with Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo! and Gmail accounts visible directly on the home screen. The Nokia C7 features a 3.5-inch AMOLED display and a combination of stainless steel, glass and soft edges. The expected retail price is 335 euros.

The touchscreen-only C6 features a 3.2-inch AMOLED display with ClearBlack technology. It also has social-networking apps in a stainless-steel and glass design. The expected retail price is 260 euros.


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