updated 07:50 am EDT, Tue August 25, 2009
Nokia in the run-up to its Nokia World show next week launched a touchscreen phone made to give it a better foothold in budget touchscreen smartphones. The 5230 is sometimes more advanced than the more expensive 5530 XM and adds both 3G as well as data-assisted GPS; in return, it drops Wi-Fi and scales back to a 2-megapixel camera. It still holds on to the 640x360 touch display, 3.5mm headphone jack and smartphone-class Symbian S60 OS from every previous Nokia touchscreen phone.
Social networking remains a centerpiece with a contact carousel and sped-up access to Facebook and MySpace. The home screen also has top-level music controls to save having to bring up the player app or a shortcut.
Nokia is particularly conscious of competition from the $99 iPhone 3G and says the 5230 is "competitively priced" with a price of 149 Euros ($213) before factoring in carrier discounts, which are likely to take the price as low or lower than its rival. A Comes With Music edition that gives a year of access to the unlimited song download service will cost 259 Euros ($370).
The launch of the phone comes just a day after Nokia's CEO had to defend the N97's relative failure in the marketplace compared to Apple's devices. Critics have blamed the N97's slow uptake on a high price compared to its actual feature set, but the executive both denied a real problem and resolved that Nokia would be "even more competitive" with its future lineup, which now tackles the lower end occupied by the 8GB iPhone as well as more premium models.