NEW YORK - Nokia, together with partners AT&T, Microsoft and Best Buy, formally introduced the Nokia Booklet 3G, its first foray into the PC space. The 2.76-pound netbook features Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system and 12 hours of "true" battery life.
The Booklet 3G will be available exclusively at Best Buy for the holiday season - the retailer will begin taking orders online and in stores on Oct. 22 and devices will arrive mid-November - for a subsidized price of $299 with a two-year AT&T service contract that includes 5GB a month for $60. Without the AT&T service plan, the device will retail for $599.
After the holidays, AT&T will offer additional service plans, and the device is likely to be sold through additional outlets.
"For Nokia, mobility is only where the story begins... This is the continuation of our connecting people story," said John Wong, head of the production team that developed the Booklet 3G.
"A partner like Nokia entering the PC ecosystem is something very special," added Microsoft's Lars Boesen, during the introduction of the Booklet 3G to New York media. "We think this is important and the product is very good... They took some risks, and we really think they're paying off."
Barry Judge, Best Buy's chief marketing officer, remarked that in a slumping global economy, PCs are one of the bright spots. "As we're fighting for consumer dollars... we're seeing discretionary income moving to PCs, and especially to netbooks," he said.
During a question-and-answer session Judge added, "Netbooks do have a fairly high return rate, because they can't do what a PC can do. But [the Nokia Booklet 3G] is different. It does what no other netbook can do."
The Booklet's exceptional battery life is said to be a combination of the Intel processor, Nokia's battery decision and the battery optimization capabilities of Windows 7.
The Booklet 3G measures 10.3 by 7.3 by 0.78 inches and the glass display is 10.1 inches with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. It features a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor, an Intel Poulsbo US15W chip and a fanless design. Also included are A-GPS, built-in WLAN and WWAN connectivity, and 3G/HSPA connectivity with a hot-swappable SIM card.
There's a 1.3-megapixel camera with integrated microphone, 3 USB ports, an HDMI 1.2 out port, a headphone jack, DC-in, SD card reader and a SIM/USIM slot. RAM is 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 (double data rate 2), soldered down, and the hard drive is 120GB with 8MB of cache and 4,200RPM.
Nokia expects to sell 20 million of the Booklet 3Gs before the end of the year.
Avi Greengart, a research director with Current Analysis, finds the price point to be very competitive, given the Booklet's design and battery life. "If you're a road warrior or a small business owner on the go, the constant connectivity and small form factor make a tremendous amount of sense," he told eWEEK.
The device - which Nokia calls a "mini PC" - is less of a fit as a second or third device around the home, Greengart added. "Consumers are not looking for another service contract."
In an introductory video preceding the event, Kai Öistämö, Nokia's executive vice-president, looked into the camera and affirmed: "Mobility is our heritage, and that is what we are bringing to the computer world."