Redwood City (CA) – We have heard about Apple’s iPhone lately, especially about the upcoming 3G iPhone. It seems that US mainstream media just can’t get enough of Steve Jobs, but we should not forget that there are other and much more successful cellphone manufacturers out there. For example Nokia: And what will world’s largest manufacturer do when a smaller company comes up with a good idea? Copy it, of course.
Apple’s first entrance into the smartphone world is impressive, but to put the firm’s achievement of about four million sold iPhones into perspective, we could look to Nokia and its N95, which sold six million units by itself. The N93i and other models follow in higher numbers for a grand total of over 110 million sold smartphones (Nokia reportedly sold more than 440 million cellphones in 2007).
At a recently held Evans Data Developer Conference, Thomas Libretto (vice president, Forum Nokia) stated that Nokia is currently developing their next-generation smartphone, codenamed Tube. This device Tube is built on a “next-generation” platform that will end up in many Smartphone devices, but the spotlight will, of course, be on the fact that it is positioned as yet another iPhone killer model.
Nokia is known to use the same hardware platform for a multitude of devices, just like OMAP 2430 + PowerVR MBX was the base for N9x series. Tube will be a key model for the new 3.5G mobile phone platform that Nokia will introduce in its 2009/10 series of devices. Tube features full support for Ovi Share, support for the DVB-H mobile TV standard and a full implementation of Java. It is more than obvious that Tube will run on the next version of the ever-popular Symbian OS, but it is unclear whether it will be version 9.5 or 10.0.
For Ovi Share (audio/photo/video sharing service), Tube will extensively use Wi-Fi and 3.5G capabilities (EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA). The GPS feature will be expanded with location-based services, so that emergency services could be deployed if, for instance, you find yourself trapped on a mountain.
Interestingly enough, Nokia never emphasized its accelerometer function, because you can even use the Nokia N95 as a PC mouse. And yes, you will be able to remove the battery, just in case it goes “puff” in a year or two.
If Tube ends up as becoming the successor of the N95/N95 8GB/N96, Nokia is looking at at least 10 million Tube cellphones, and around 110 million more affordable devices using the same hardware platform. And, of course, these phones are not tied to any particular vendor and is deeply embedded into the ringtone/wallpaper industry, which is worth billions of dollars (estimates for 2006 call for a market volume of close to $5 billion, estimates for 2007 are at about $6.5 billion).
A timeline for the introduction of Tube cellphone has not been confirmed. But from what we can see right now, Nokia is taking Apple serious and if there will be an iPhone killer, then it is likely to come from Nokia.