Nokia Debuts Cheap iPhone Competitor, Misses the Point

Nokia’s continuing its XpressMusic charge with a new smartphone–the 5530 XM. Unlike its 5800 predecessor, the 5530 is designed to be a cheapy touchscreen smartphone. While that sounds cool, Nokia’s dropped the price by ditching the clever smartphone bits.

Nokia 5530

The 5530 is still a monolithic touchscreen candybar device, with a 2.9-inch 640-by-360-pixel screen, and it runs Symbian S60 for full-on smartphone functionality. Nokia’s also tweaked the home screen so it has one-click shortcuts to apps, a pop-up media bar and a fast contacts scroller, dubbed the “people carousel” that gives you quick access to up to 20 favorite contacts. The device also has Wi-fi, and a 3.2-megapixel camera with LED flash.

So far, so good. But to lower the device’s price, Nokia also halved the microSDHC card included with the phone, down to 4GB. And more importantly it’s disposed of the full 3G capabilities of the 5530–for data you’re stuck with Wi-fi, or, if you can believe it, EDGE. As a result of this trimming, the phone will likely be about $280 before carrier subsidy.

And that folks is not cheap enough. Sure, the 5530 may well cost you nothing when you buy it on a two-year contract, but the existing 8GB iPhone 3G easily outperforms it, and is due to cost just $99 on contract. The Palm Pre and iPhone 3G S aren’t all that much more expensive, either.

I’m sure there’ll be a number of crazed fans who’ll buy this, and enjoy the XpressMusic function of the device. But, if Nokia really wants to crack open the smartphone market, I suspect it’ll have to try much harder than this. 

[via Electronista

Nokia’s 5800 XpressMusic Launch Brings Out Crowds
Beware iTunes, Nokia Comes With Music
iPhone 3G S: Separating Truth From Fiction