October 13, 2008

First Nokia Touch-Screen Phone for Mass Market

By Chandra Devi

NOKIA has entered the mobile music market with the launch of its first touch-screen device, the 5800 XpressMusic.

The model is the company's first touch-screen device on the S60 Fifth Edition smartphone platform. It also supports Comes With Music, a service which offers users unlimited access to songs from Nokia Music Store for one year.

At the recent Nokia Remix event in Singapore, company vice president, category management, Live category Tuula Rytila-Uotila said the 5800 XpressMusic is the company's first mass-market device with a touch-screen. She explained that Nokia decided to offer one- point touch experience on the 5800 XpressMusic to enable touch technology.

According to her, the phone's user interface is now made into a "human interface" with the introduction of Nokia Contacts Bar, which allows users to visualise contacts and communicate with them easily. This feature also allows users to add pictures of four favourite contacts on the home screen.

And with just a touch, users can access recent history of communications such as text messages, e-mails, phone logs, photos or blog updates.

Besides Contacts Bar, touch technology is used for the Media Bar feature, which is a drop-down menu that provides access to music, direct link to the Web and online sharing.

The 5800 XpressMusic supports three input choices: the stylus, finger and plectrum.

For an enhanced music experience, the phone comes with a graphics equaliser, an eight-gigabyte memory which can support 6,000 tracks of any key digital format, a 3.5-millimetre jack and built-in surround sound stereo speakers.

Other features include a 3.2-megapixel camera, 3.2-inch widescreen display, 16:9 aspect ratio, 30-frame-per-second playback. and support for 60 languages.

The 5800 XpressMusic will be made available worldwide by year- end at 279 (RM1,320) before taxes and subsidies. Consumers have an option to buy the device with or without the Comes With Music service.

According to Nokia's head of entertainment and communities category management Andrew Connell, Comes With Music will be rolled out in Singapore and Australia in the first quarter of next year. The United Kingdom was the first market to enjoy this service, which commenced this month.

Connell said the service hopes to address music piracy by enabling users to download and enjoy music legally.

Comes With Music is supported by EMI Group, Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group.

As for Nokia Music Store, it is now available in 11 countries and will soon be provided to consumers in United Arab Emirates.

To cater to Asian consumers with interest in local music, Nokia has signed on Ocean Butterflies Music and Rock Records Singapore.

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