Nokia Tube phone is no iPhone killer

Nokia is about to unveil its first touch screen phone in London this week, but it will lack the multi-touch capability synonymous with the iPhone and iPod, E&T can reveal.

Sources from suppliers to the Finnish company claimed that Nokia was integrating their multi-touch screen technology and that it was looking to release a multi-touch mobile phone before the end of Q2 next year.

Nokia, which has a strong track record in the lower-end handset market, said in July its touch-screen offering would come this year and be cheaper than rival models in order to tap into a higher-volume market – and would not feature the multi-touch capabilities of the iPhone.

"The demand outlook in emerging markets, like India, is good for a cheaper touch-screen phone," said Hannu Rauhala, an analyst with Pohjola Bank.

Kai Oistamo, head of Nokia's devices business, said in July the Finnish firm was committed to bringing a complete portfolio of touch devices to the market, both in the high-end and low-end segments.

LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics and several smaller handset vendors have rolled out their own touch-screen phones over the last two years, while the first handset using Google's Android platform will also have a touch screen.

"The phone is extremely important," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi. "We have been waiting for the market leader to respond to Apple's iPhone for a year-and-a-half now. There is a lot of pressure on Nokia."

Milanesi said that the Finnish firm had a history of coming late to the market with innovations and succeeding anyway.

"With 3G they were late, but they got it right. They delivered and are the market leader. They did it with slim phones. They could do it with the touch screen," she said.

Nokia has used touch screens before in its Internet tablet product range, which are phone-like devices for Web surfing but lack a calling function.

The popularity of touch screens surged with introduction of the capacitive touch-screen technology, which gives higher clarity of picture and that figures in both the iPhone and in LG's Prada and Secret phones.

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