Nokia is to add a Windows netbook to its line-up, marking a radical departure from the Finnish technology giant's traditional handset products.
Announced today, the Nokia Booklet 3G is essentially a mini laptop based on Intel's Atom processor with a 10in screen. The device weighs 1.25kg, and is said to have a broad range of connectivity options including 3G and Wi-Fi.
Nokia said that the new device will widen its portfolio, but did not disclose any details on prices or availability. Further information, including more detailed specifications, is set to be announced at the company's Nokia World event on 2 September.
While rumours had hinted that Nokia was developing a netbook product, it is perhaps surprising that the company has chosen to enter the Windows-based PC market alongside the likes of Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo and Asus.
However, Nokia claimed that the Booklet 3G will differentiate itself with integrated GPS and an impressive 12-hour battery life, and will give buyers access to Nokia's suite of Ovi services, such as the online music store.
Nokia executive vice president Kai Öistämö explained in a statement that a growing number of people want the computing power of a PC with the full benefits of mobility.
"We are in the business of connecting people, and the Nokia Booklet 3G is a natural evolution for us. Nokia has a long and rich heritage in mobility and, with the outstanding battery life, premium design and all-day always-on connectivity, we will create something quite compelling. In doing so we will make the personal computer more social, more helpful and more personal," he said.
Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi suggested that, with the netbook market hotting up, Nokia may have been forced to make this move or risk being left behind by its competitors.
"The reality is that there is a lot happening. There are rumours that Apple might enter the market. For Nokia, waiting to see what might happen is a game it cannot afford to play, and going with Windows is the fastest way to get to market," she said.
With so many existing models already available, Nokia will need to focus on extras to differentiate the Booklet 3G, according to Milanesi. "The price point will also be key," she said.
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