Nokia enters the netbook market with the Booklet 3G

The device includes mobile broadband access and boasts a long battery life

Nokia has unveiled the Booklet 3G, a netbook with high-speed mobile broadband and Wi-Fi connectivity, and a GPS receiver, the company said on Monday. The Booklet 3G should run for up to 12 hours on one battery charge, Nokia said. It weighs 1.25 kilograms, has an aluminum chassis and is slightly more than 2 centimeters thin.

The mobile broadband connection will be based on HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access), but Nokia doesn't want to elaborate on what speeds it will support.

The device also has a 10-inch screen, and can connect to bigger displays using an HDMI port, according to Nokia. Like most other netbooks on the market, it contains an Intel Atom processor and will run Windows -- although Nokia isn't yet ready to say which version of the OS.

Lately Nokia has shown an increasing amount of interest in Linux, a competitor to the Windows OS.

Nokia announced in June that it will work with Intel on mobile devices running the Linux-based Maemoplatform. But choosing Windows makes sense given consumer resistance to Linux netbooks, according to market research company CCS Insight.

Detailed specifications, market availability and pricing, will be announced at Nokia World on Sep. 2, Nokia said in a statement.

How competitive the specification will be when it ships remains to been seen, as a slew of netbooks based on Windows 7 are expected to be announced in the near future, according to Geoff Blaber, analyst at CCS Insight.

The price will be very important in determining the netbook's success, and here Nokia is in a bit of a quandary, said Blaber. It can't be too cheap, because that will make smartphones such as the N97 look expensive. But it can't be too expensive, because that could alienate consumers who are used to low-priced netbooks, Blaber said.

But looking at the specification, it seems like the Booklet 3G will be an expensive product, according to Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. But she doesn't want to guess what it will cost.

A high price tag means Nokia will hope to get operators to subsidize the device. But getting operators to do that might turn out to be difficult, according to Blaber. Nokia's services push will be an integral part of the Booklet 3G, and that might not sit well with all carriers, he said.

Nokia said the move into the portable computing market is a natural evolution for the company. The launch of the device has been rumored for several months.

The company is clearly hoping to take advantage of its brand and its mobile phone distribution channels to compete in the cutthroat netbook segment, Blaber said.

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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