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Nokia Launches Touchscreen Music Phone

Nokia’s first touchscreen-equipped cellphone, the music-playing 3G 5800 XpressMusic, is due in the fourth quarter in Europe, but a North American edition isn’t planned for U.S. availability until sometime next year, a spokesman said.

Another version of the phone, due in Europe early next year at an unannounced price, will deliver free one-year access to Nokia’s soon-to-launch Comes With Music service, which allows one year of free unlimited over-the-air downloading of protected-WMA music tracks from the catalogs of the big four music labels (Warner, Sony/BMG, EMI and Universal) and independents. Tracks downloaded during that time can be kept after the year is up, and additional songs can be purchased after that time on an a la carte basis from the Nokia Music Store. Consumers can also download Comes With Music songs to their PC and side-load them to the phone, a spokesman told TWICE.

The service launches in mid-October in the U.K. with compatibility on select Nokia phones, but the company hasn’t announced plans to launch the service in the U.S.

The company also hasn’t said whether the 5800, a GSM/W-CDMA high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) phone, will be sold in the Unied States through carriers or, as an unlocked phone.

In Europe, the 4.31-inch by 2.04-inch by 0.61-inch, 3.85-ounce phone will sell for around 279 euros, or $368 based on an exchange rate of $1.38 per euro, excluding carrier subsidies.

For the United States, the phone will operate in 3G HSDPA mode in the 850/1,900MHz bands and quadband GSM/EDGE in the U.S. and overseas. Dialing and text entry must be accomplished through a virtual keypad and keyboard on the 3.2-inch widescreen display. The front panel features only three hard buttons: talk, end and menu control.

It comes with included 8GB MicroSD card, 3.2-megapixel camera/camcorder with 30 fps VGA playback, built-in stereo speakers, stereo Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3.5mm headphone jack, Flash support, and Symbian Series 60 (5th edition) OS.

Unlike other touchscreen phones that have come to market, it eschews a capacitive touchscreen in favor of a resistive touchscreen, enabling the use of a finger, stylus or plectrum (guitar-pick like tool) to navigate the phone. Capacitive touchscreens allow only for fingertip control. The resistive touchscreen meets the needs “of users across a diverse range of culturally-different regions,” Strategy Analytics said.