Nokia N97 in New York and Chicago Flagship Stores
The first N97 devices have arrived at the Finnish phone maker's Chicago and New York flagship stores. While the limited numbers may clear out quickly, Nokia's $700 price tag may pose a challenge. Plus - as Palm knows well - there's the issue of an app store that can't touch Apple's.
The Nokia N97 is now available at Nokia's New York and Chicago flagship stores.
While there are reports that these early arrivals are for customers on established waitlists, a customer service representative at the New York flagship store laughed at the suggestion.
"No," she told eWEEK, "they're for anyone."
Though she added, "You're going to come soon, right? We only got in 100-some, and they probably won't last the weekend."
The N97's $699 price tag, however, may not bring the kind of lines Palm saw during its first weekend with the Pre, on the Sprint network. The N97 is unlocked, and so unaffiliated with a carrier to subsidize the upfront cost.
"I think that matches Nokia's strengths in Europe," Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies, told eWEEK.
"Europeans buy their own hardware, so they can use whatever carrier they want. Symbian is strong outside the U.S., and Nokia's main powerbase is there, so that's the way they do business," said Kay.
Nokia's official new flagship device, the N97 looks a bit like a blend of the Palm Pre, the Apple iPhone and the old Nokia E90 Communicator.
(Though you can check out this slideshow and decide for yourself.)
It features a 3.5-inch touch screen, with a resolution of 640 x 360 pixels, that slides and tilts up as a full qwerty keyboard slides out. There's full Web browsing, TCP/IP support, a 4-megapixel camera with auto focus and zoom, a video camera, GPS and navigation, and Bluetooth 2.0.
The internal memory is up to 32GB, and a microSD memory card slot offers up to 16GB more. It weighs 5.29 ounces, measures 4.61 x 2.18 x 0.63 inches, and it operates on the WCDMA 850/1900/2100 MHz quad-band networks and GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz A-GPS, WLAN.
And while Nokia's Ovi Store offers far more applications than Palm's App Catalogue, the N97 will also face a similar challenge as the Palm Pre.
"Apple has set the pace with applications, and [Nokia] needs to have a story there. With that kind of rich environment, other vendors need to be able to point to what you can do with their phones," said Kay.
"The competitive environment is tougher than it was, so it's not going to be easy to make headway - even with a great product."