Nokia’s new smartphone set to take on the iPhone

The smartphones keep on coming. Telco group Nokia has released the Xpress Music 5800 phone, the first Nokia model to boast touch-screen capabilities and expandable memory.

Nokia Xpress Music 5800 phone

The smartphones keep on coming. Telco group Nokia has released the Xpress Music 5800 phone, the first Nokia model to boast touch-screen capabilities and expandable memory.

Unlike Apple and Google’s gadgets, which emphasise applications, Nokia’s device instead focuses on playing music and movies. The phone is packed with a “comes with music” service that offers the user unlimited access to songs in Nokia’s music store.

The switch to a multimedia based device is an effort to target younger users, rather than executives already using an iPhone or BlackBerry.

Like other phones of its class, the Xpress 5800 boasts a 3.2 megapixel camera, web-browsing access, Bluetooth and a display that transforms into widescreen by tilting the device on its side. The phone features Mini SD cards, which boast considerably larger memory capacity than flash drives, and can be swapped for larger capacity models.

But reviews following the device’s release have not been overwhelming.

Review centre Engadget says the device doesn’t quite fit into the market as well as its competitors. “Everything’s still there, but Nokia didn’t put the gruntwork in necessary to really take advantage of a next-gen interface as it relates to keeping track of emails, social networking, IM and the correspondences of more than four people.”

“Panning around [the web] is also jittery… nobody has managed to pull off iPhone-smooth yet in this department.”

Nokia Xpress Music 5800 phone

Unlike the iPhone and G1, the Xpress 5800 only works with single-tap technology, meaning taps cannot be made simultaneously, reducing typing and browsing speeds.

The review also complains of slow processing and a lack of operation consistency, citing having to tap once or twice in different areas to access applications.

Technology site techrader.com also says the phone doesn’t work as well as other devices.

“Unfortunately it falls a little short. However, this device does do one of the things it was born to do well, and that’s play music and media.”

While an Australian release date has not been set, the phone is expected to sell for less than Apple’s 3G iPhone. The release price is set at €279 ($494), but final retail pricing is not yet known.

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