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Friday, October 03, 2008
Nokia Takes on Apple With Unlimited Music Service, New Touch-screen Phones


Nokia launched its "Comes with Music " free music package on Thursday, issuing a challenge to Apple's dominance of the digital music market.

The company also launched its first touch-screen phone 5800 Xpressmusic to rival Apple's popular iPhone.

Nokia said at Nokia Remix event in London it would start selling the phone shortly, pricing it at €279 ($395) excluding subsidies and taxes, which it said was roughly half the price of the other main touch-screen phones on the market.

The price means consumers in large markets will get the phone for free from operators when agreeing to sign a contract. The company also will be able to make a dent in emerging markets.

Nokia said all major music labels and most independent labels will offer their tracks as part of Nokia's 'free' music bundle "Comes with Music," raising the total number of tracks to around 5 million.

Nokia said it aims to offer the music service next year on Apple's home ground in the United States, the world's largest music market.

"Comes With Music sets a precedent for consumer value and convenience that the rest of the digital entertainment industry is already copying," said Tero Ojanper, executive vice president and head of the Nokia entertainment and communities business. "Trying out a music recommendation is spontaneous as customers can download without worrying about the cost of an album or a track - the freedom and simplicity of the service is unparalleled. And Comes With Music gives you unlimited access to the millions of tracks in the Nokia Music Store and the music is all yours to keep - because it's not a revolution unless you get to keep your music."

Comes With Music will be available across a range of Nokia devices, including the new Nokia 5800 XpressMusic - also announced today and the Nokia N95 8GB and Nokia 5310 XpressMusic.

The battle for mobile music is increasingly crowded. Sony Ericsson launched its music package this month in Sweden, and South Korea's LG Electronics plans a service similar to Nokia's. Apple controls slightly more than half of global digital music sales through its iTunes store.

Nokia's package will differ from others on the market since users can keep all the music they have downloaded during the subscription period of 12 or 18 months. There are no charges for tracks downloaded as the cost is bundled to the phone price.

Nokia will launch the package in Britain. UK retailer, Carphone Warehouse, will start selling the products on Oct 16. Nokia 5310 will sell for 130 pounds, while the price for a version of Nokia's sophisticated N95 smartphone with eight gigabytes of memory was not revealed.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

Nokia's new Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, will be among the first devices to support Comes With Music.

Taking advantage of touch screen technology, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic introduces the 'Media Bar', a drop down menu that provides direct access to music and entertainment, including favourite tracks, videos and photos. The Media Bar also offers a direct link to the web and to online sharing. The phone Flash content, includes a graphic equalizer, 8GB memory and supports all main digital music formats, and a 3.5mm jack. Built-in surround sound stereo speakers are also available.

It has a 3.2" widescreen display with a 16 by 9 aspect ratio and 30 frames-per-second playback and recording.

The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic also features a 3.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens and, with a single touch, images or videos can be shared via an online community, such as Share on Ovi, Flickr, or Facebook. Music playlist song titles can also be shared through Bluetooth, MMS or online sharing.

It offers a variety of input methods including a virtual alphanumeric keypad, a virtual computer-style QWERTY keyboard, a pen stylus -- and for true music enthusiasts, a plectrum -- are all available.

The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic will be available worldwide beginning in the fourth quarter of 2008 for an estimated retail price of €279 EUR before taxes and subsidies. The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic featuring Comes With Music will be available early next year. Pricing details to follow.



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