updated 08:40 am EDT, Thu October 2, 2008
Nokia Chief on iPhone
Apple's entry into the mobile phone space was a "big favor" to the cellphone business by shaking it up, Nokia chief Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said Thursday. The executive notes that Apple's roughly 14-month presence in the market has produced a "credible competitor" that has led phone buyers to expect more from devices, pushing Nokia and others to improve their hardware and software. The Finnish company now sees the iPhone as a threat but also says it has yet to formally take on Apple's touchscreen model.
"Of course we need to be able to respond to any competitor and we will," he says.
The statements come just hours before Nokia is expected to launch the 5800 XpressMusic alongside full details of its unlimited Comes With Music service. As Nokia's first touchscreen cellphone, the 5800 is targeted at the same media-centric field as the iPhone with 3G, GPS and Wi-Fi as well as a full Symbian S60 operating system that supports smartphone-class software.
Although not mentioned in Kallasvuo's latest comments, Nokia has quietly acknowledged that it has lost share to the iPhone in the smartphone space, where the Eseries and Nseries have largely held a definite lead in the world market but have been at times undercut in price by Apple. While choosing not to mention any companies by name at the time, Nokia singled out the delayed launch of an individual "mid-range" phone, believed to be the 5800 XpressMusic, as a factor in lowered forecasts for summer phone shipments.
The Nokia official also believes his firm can stand up to offerings from Google and Research in Motion, noting that the "jury is still out" on Android and that a new initiative to bring Microsoft Exchange data to most S60 devices will give Nokia an advantage over BlackBerries by putting work e-mail on more devices.