Nokia to sell phone with navigation, fast data links

Editor Mobile

Nokia Oyj, the world’s largest maker of mobile phones, will start selling a handset with a satellite navigation system and its fastest data connection yet in an effort to stay ahead of competitors such as Motorola Inc.

The phone, called N95, has access to maps of more than 100 countries and will start selling for 550 euros ($698) in the first quarter, Nokia said in an e-mailed release today. Nokia also showed its smallest multimedia phone, the foldable N75, available next quarter, and three music phones.

Nokia is adding features to take market share from rivals such as Motorola, whose unit sales growth has outpaced that of Nokia for five straight quarters, and makers of digital cameras, personal data assistants and portable music players. Mobile- phone market growth is slowing as markets in Europe and the U.S. near saturation.

Nokia “believes it will not only continue to take share from the single technology companies but from PDA and even laptop manufacturers too,” the Espoo, Finland-based company said in the release.

With the new multimedia handsets, Nokia also aims to boost its U.S. market share, Executive Vice President Anssi Vanjoki said in a speech in New York today. Nokia is the No. 3 handset maker in North America, behind Motorola and Samsung Electronics Co., according to researcher Gartner Inc.

David Bowie

The N75 comes with radio and music player, and Nokia also will start selling “music editions” of three previously-shown models. The company also will work with 40 music stores worldwide and the musician David Bowie in creating a service that helps subscribers discover new artists and listen to the latest tracks.

With the new map functions, Nokia is challenging makers of navigation equipment such as Amsterdam-based TomTom NV. Nokia agreed on Aug. 31 to buy Berlin-based Gate5 AG for an undisclosed amount to add mapping, routing and navigation software to its handsets.

Maps for the N95 are free and services such as city guides and voice navigation are available for an extra charge. The phone also has a video recorder and a 5 mega-pixel camera, for picture resolution similar to digital cameras currently used by consumers.

The handset connects to the Web faster by using so-called high-speed packet downlink access, or HSDPA, technology. In HSDPA networks, subscribers can browse the Web, read e-mail and download files as much as 10 times faster than with so-called third-generation technology, Nokia said.

Nokia’s market share fell to 33.6 percent last quarter from 34 percent in the previous period, according to Gartner. Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola, the No. 2 phone maker, was the fastest-growing handset maker last quarter and raised its share to 21.9 percent from 20.3 percent in the first quarter.

Shares of Nokia rose as much as 2.2 percent to 15.51 euros, and traded at 15.38 euros at 6:02 p.m. in Helsinki. The stock is little changed this year, while Motorola has gained 12 percent.


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EditorNokia to sell phone with navigation, fast data links