updated 09:45 am EST, Mon December 1, 2008
Nokia Phone Tomorrow
Nokia is planning to kick off its Nokia World 2008 expo with the launch of a new phone that could be its first high-end touchscreen device, Fast Company's Robert Scoble says. A Nokia executive tells the online reporter that a phone announcement scheduled for the show has been kept unusually well hidden and that outsiders have "no clue" as to what will be unveiled. Even within the company, only "a handful of people" have seen the finished product, the official insists.
This is potentially a touchscreen device, according to Scoble, as the executive responded to a question about the existence of such a phone by saying that no one has yet mastered the design rather than denying or refusing to comment on the claim.
Nokia's new rival Apple is also known to have taken a similar approach with the iPhone, preventing all but a small group of employees from seeing the complete product until it was revealed at Macworld Expo 2007.
The assertion is supported by a countdown timer run by Nokia itself as well as a leaked roadmap that points to one or two phones being functionally complete in time for the event; the IP08 would include a five-megapixel camera, GPS and Wi-Fi, while a second device nicknamed the Ivalo will allegedly carry a full 3.5-inch screen and 32GB of internal storage. An event page from the company refers to "Nseries 2009" and suggests that any touch phone would be considered a full smartphone rather than the strictly mid-range 5800 XpressMusic.
The introdution of a touchscreen or otherwise high-end Nseries device is increasingly considered essential for Nokia, which has seen its smartphone share plummet in the wake of the iPhone 3G as well as newer BlackBerries that have affected the company's share of the home user market. Nokia also continues to have little influence in the US and is believed to be hinging many of its prospects for 2009 on what appears at Nokia World.