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on the right is picture floating around the internet of a rumored nokia feature phone called the 7500 of the new Nokia 7500, a fashion phone introduced in China today (see link in comments). on the left is the Prada store that opened in Tokyo about 3 years ago. is this Nokia’s answer to the LG Prada phone?
Earlier this month, T-Mobile announced that it will launch converged cellular/Wi-Fi calling services across the U.S. In order to take advantage of this service, you will need a cell phone that also includes a Wi-Fi radio. Software on the phone will allow the phones to make and receive phone calls from either cellular or Wi-Fi networks, and will also allow seamless hand-offs between the two different types of networks. Of course, T-Mobile already has a handful of these converged devices, including the Dash and the recently released HTC Wing.
But this new service will also pave the way for some higher-end devices from Nokia to reach American shores. Specifically, devices like the E series smartphones such as the E65, E61i and E90. The first two are already available in Europe (and via certain sales channels to U.S. buyers), and the E90 will be available in another month or so. This could be the stepping stone Nokia needs to win back some market share in the U.S.
While Nokia has had limited success the last few years with low-end phones, it has struggled with bringing its higher-end devices to the States. Business-class devices, such as the E series, make the most sense. Many businesses expense and/or allow employees to write off smartphones. If T-Mobile were to supply subsidized Nokia E series devices, and bundle them with the new converged Wi-Fi calling features, it could be the right move to gain some leverage with U.S. business buyers.
Neither Nokia nor T-Mobile has tipped us off to any such plans, but it makes sense for both players. Nokia finds a new foothold and T-Mobile gets to offer compelling phones for business users. Nokia has already committed to providing converged phones for T-Mobile and this service. While it does offer a mid-level feature phone with this capability, it would be a good move for Nokia to step up and get some of its flagship devices on store shelves in the U.S.