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Supernova and more from Nokia
Nokia has been leaking like a hole-ridden pot recently. Thanks to their partnership deals with Flikr they managed to remove some shots of their latest and greatest devices, but that was as far as they could get fighting against all these spy-shots. Most farsighted users saved these precious images to their PCs, so that now most phones that used to be “strictly confidential” are out and about on the Web, although for the most part the tidbits don’t get any juicer than some loose assumptions or rumors. By the way, savvy and quick-witted users are not the only headache of Nokia’s – mistakes and sloppiness of their staff is another problem, as some of their new phones popped up right on the official Poland portal, and while they did plug these wholes pretty quickly, it was way too late. Don’t expect to find thorough reviews of all Nokia’s latest and greatest solutions, however if it’s a lowdown on pricing, availability and target audience that you are after, then look no further.
Supernova – new collection for women
Over at Nokia they view Samsung as one of their strongest rivals, especially as far as the latter’s sales in the mid-range market go. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is the reason why most Nokia’s fashion-conscious solutions are designed for women and foray into various price segments (the Prism Collection, for one). One of Samsung’s trumps are women, since the bulk of their solutions are popular exactly with this audience, although they haven’t announced such one-sided positioning for them. Nokia’s parth, though, doesn’t imply creation of direct rivals to Samsung’s offerings – their real aim is to offer this demographic different abilities and experience. All in all this is a bold and unconventional move than may lead them to a victory or end up nowhere just as well. Let’s take a good gander at their latest Supernova collection and see what kind of ripple it can set off on the market.
The entire collection comprises of three handsets - Nokia 7310, Nokia 7510 and Nokia 7610. And it should be fairly easy to figure out that all three models come in different form-factors: candybar, clamshell and slider. Nokia is no stranger to this approach and last time it worked out very well for them. Back when they were still in development, these phones were codenamed after semiprecious stones, hence a slew of images featuring these phones alongside some fancy crystals.
What’s so special about the Supernova line-up? First thing you stumble upon is the multitude of colors offered for every phone in there – make no mistake about that, no woman will come out disappointed about the phone not meshing with heir handbag in terms of color. Another thing of note is the ability to use XpressOn panels; furthermore, these handset swill come boxed with extra panels, which will certainly enrich the experience. Finally, the last, but not the least newsworthy thing about this collection is that it can change the current theme, wallpaper and color scheme in a flick of the camera button. Here how it works – you take a picture of something, then the device determines the main color of what you’ve just snapped and adjusts its apparel in a way to fit this color. Other than these, these handsets are no different from the rest of the pack, bar uncharacteristic design, build quality and elaborated details for mid-range solutions.
Nokia 7310 Supernova – this phone launches the whole line-up, being a candybar device running S40 5th edition and sporting a 2.2-inch QVGA display, 3.5 mm headset jack, music player and FM-radio (unfortunately, no 3G). It will start shipping during week 26 for 160 Euro or so.
Nokia 7510 Supernova – this clamshell doesn’t have any frills on offer, save for a sizable outer display (monochrome, 128x160 pixels). The rest of its spec sheet isn’t stellar – 2 Mpix camera without autofocus, 16 million color QVGA display (OLED), plus FM-radio and all standard feats of S40. It’s slated to go on sale more towards week 38 of this year with a price tag of 220-230 Euro.
Nokia 7610 Supernova – bar design and a couple of facelifts, it’s the Nokia 6500 Slide in a new wrapping. Its fortes include a pretty decent 3.2 Mpix camera and TV-out. When it hits the market during week 36 it’ll cost 275-280 Euro, although only select markets will get it at first (Germany, France, Spain and Scandinavia).
Fresh blood for S60
Nokia N79 – its sales should start during week 40 of this year, although it will become widely available only more towards the end of 2008. By and large, it’s a pared-down version of the Nokia N82 that will still be around. While it packs in exactly the same camera module, the N79 lacks a xenon flash. Its software department is taken care of by S60 FP2, putting it in one league with the Nokia N78. The price on the day of release is estimated at 250-275 Euro, which is quite interesting, since this will make a 5 Mpix cameraphone with decent specs affordable for just about any wallet. The Nokia 6220 Classic and the likes are pretty much the same breed of phone, although some call the 6220 Classic the most widely adopted and affordable imaging-savvy device, but this belief is quite wrong. While it’s an appealing device, it has a really strong roster of rivals within Nokia’s own portfolio, plus it’s not without some faults and lacks some key features.
Nokia N85 – this phone is planned as one of the most popular solutions in the NSeries, but can it? It’s a video-centric device with a decent screen size and dual-slider mechanism, allowing you to access the music controls. Personally, I really like this phone, probably we’ll make a feature out of it, along the lines of what we did with the Nokia E71 (thankfully its operable prototypes have been around for several months now).
This model should be considered as a replacement for the Nokia N81 and all its iterations, plus it will ship with a 5 Mpix camera identical to that of the Nokia N82. We won’t disclose all trumps of the N85 right here, but with this phone on Nokia’s roadmap, the future of the Nokia N96 no longer looks safe and secure, although it’d seem these two are no rivals.
The N85 is set to start shipping during week 35-36 for 350-375 Euro apiece.
Nokia 6260 Classic – I’m not sure they will give it this index, but the suffix seems to be right for this particular handset. Basically, it’s the good old Nokia 6220 Classic, just wrapped up in the slider form-factor. The 6260 Classic is slotted for week 40 of this year and will be available for 360 Euro (the 6220 Classic is priced at 325 Euro).
Nokia 5800 XpressMedia – the first all-touch phone from Nokia, formerly known as the “Tube”. It is set to land on most market some time during this December and will retail for around 400 Euro. It’s not a mass-market device by any stretch of the imagination, rather Nokia’s first go at this segment. The 5800’s amenities include support for most video codes and auto-rotation of the screen. Plus it bears a 3.2 Mpix camera and all standard no-frills specs of other, more affordable S60-powered devices. All in all, it’s major attraction is the touch-sensitive display, however the 5800 XpressMedia is not a top-of-the-line solution or the ultimate phone. Fans will be pleased, but that’s about it.
Other phones of note are the Nokia E75, Sofie and Trisha – I believe these will be leaked in the near future… am I wrong? The thing I’m really interested in, though, is who will post their images first, since all prototypes have been around for quite a while.
In this write-up we have lifted the veil of secrecy only from a handful of Nokia’s upcoming phones – outside the scope of this article are still a dozen other phones that are set to debut in 2008. Although there aren’t many milestone products among them. Nokia’s main concern for the foreseeable future is their portfolio, to be more specific, they want to beef it up with a variety of solutions building upon some basic model, yet coming with a couple of characteristic touches here and there. Whereas previously they tended to withdraw that original solution pretty quickly, these days they prefer to roll out 4-5 more iterations of it and capitalize on them, prolonging the life cycle of the phone (even if it means serving it in different wrappings every time). Curiosuly, other manufacturers aren’t into this strategy, with Samsung being the only exception (although they employ it sparingly).
In 2008-2009 Nokia will be aiming to spread N82-esque cameras across the market, effectively making it the new benchmark for the mass-market. And going into 2009 Nokia will hold the leadership in terms of image quality on the mass market. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean will offer unrivaled quality and experience – for instance, Motorola’s upcoming offerings seem more capable and powerful overall – it only means that as far as the price/quality ratio is concerned, Nokia will be ahead the competition.
Another milestone they have reached in 2008 is ubiquitous GPS on S60-based devices, plus it will infiltrate their S40 portfolio in 2009 too. On top of that, one of the most prioritized tasks on Nokia’s list is unification of both platforms in terms of ergonomics and basic functionality, so that the underpinning concepts would be the same across all their platforms.
Touch-based handsets aren’t the ultimate goal for Nokia – for now they are just giving this field a go, showing what they are capable of. As it stands today, the 5800 XpressMusic is a fairly good performer, but nothing out of this world. However, this line-up should start flourishing during the second half of 2009, but until that time, neither the XpressMedia, nor some other solutions won’t look particularly strong on the market and will rather catch the attention of a narrow circle of enthusiasts. Nevertheless, within the company it’s one of their top priorities; ironical, isn’t it – you can’t get it all in one day, even if you the market’s leading company.
Speaking of Nokia’s portfolio for 2008-2009, even the showcased prototypes (that were accidentally leaked into the Web) can serve as a solid proof that the company has some interesting and potent solutions up its sleeve, that trump the competition hands-down.
Published 17 June 2008
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