Nokia’s iPhone beater has rocky U.S. launch

Chicago (IL) – Challenging the iPhone is apparently easier said than done. RIM’s Blackberry Storm has plenty of software and interface issues, SonyEricsson’s Xperia X1 is way too expensive and those who hoped that Nokia’s 5800 phone would provide a contract-free alternative may be disappointed as well. The phone came with faulty earpiece speakers and cannot find AT&T’s 3G network, prompting Nokia to remove the phone from store shelves again.

Nokia announces iPhone rival, 5800 Xpress Music
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The $399 5800 XpressMusic (before taxes and carrier subsidies) recently shaped up as one of the key rivals for Apple’s iPhone, selling more than one million units in the fourth quarter of last year. However, the introduction in the U.S. has been plagued with two major hiccups, one relating to faulty earphone speakers that are vulnerable to moisture and the second preventing the phone from finding and connecting to AT&T’s 3G network.

According to media reports, many consumers have returned their 5800s to the Nokia stores in Chicago and New York, which eventually convinced Nokia to stop selling the phone for now. Nokia did not say how many 5800s have been sold in the U.S. so far. [Follow this link for a thorough analysis of the earpiece problem. -Editor]

Nokia did not provide an official statement to TG Daily when the 5800 will be available again.

Meanwhile there is also talk about Nokia’s Comes with Music service, a major selling point of the 5800, which was promised to allow users unlimited access to the service’s entire music library one year free of charge. New rumors indicate that the service will add about $100 to the bottom line, bringing the phone’s price to $500.

Nokia told TG Daily they do not comment on rumors.