Nokia's Surge debuts with Video Share, $80 price tag

The device also supports MMS and tethering

AT&T and Nokia today announced that the Nokia Surge smartphone will go on sale July 19 in the U.S for $80 after rebate.

That price makes the Surge one of the lowest-priced smartphones on the market, although AT&T is pitching it as a device for "active consumers who like to stay connected" instead of something that might be used by professionals and road warriors.

But at that price it could attract all kinds of users, assuming they want a Nokia phone with a Symbian S60 operating system. The Surge will support several features that AT&T is not yet providing for the iPhone 3G S, which starts at US$199, including tethering (making the phone a modem for a computer) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). A spokeswoman today reiterated that the iPhone 3G S will get MMS by end of the summer and that tethering will eventually be supported.

The Surge, a black slider phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard, includes AT&T's Video Share service, something that many expected the iPhone 3G S to offer before it arrived last month without that capability. Video Share is available on several AT&T phones, allowing real-time video chatting, a service AT&T first began to offer two years ago. The Surge only has one camera, not two, as some video chat phones have.

The 2-megapixel camera has a 4x zoom and video recording capabilities. The display is 2.4 inches diagonally.

Overall, the Surge weighs 4.3 ounces and is 3.8 inches by 2.28 inches by .6 inches.

The $80 price, after a $50 rebate, requires committing to a two-year service plan for voice of $40 a month or more and a data plan of $30 a month of more, making it the same minimal service charge required of an iPhone. The tethering capability with Share will cost extra, the spokeswoman said. Tethering with BlackBerry devices on AT&T starts at $15 a month.

The Surge is GPS and Bluetooth capable, with WCDMA speeds of 384 Mbit/sec maximum and HSDPA speeds up to 3.6 Mbit/sec, where available.

The internal memory is 128 MB, with the ability to add a Micro SD card for 8GB of storage.

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