Tough market for Nokia muscle phone

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Nokia’’s N95 handset, clunky and power-packed, is one of its most successful.

It sold more than a million units in the UK last year, making it Nokia’s best-seller. The revised 8GB version, launched in February, sells well even now, on the eve of its upgrade proper, the highly anticipated N96.

Nokia UK go-to-market manager Sami Lehtinen says: "The N96 will definitely be as successful as the N95. The amount of interest we are seeing is building up; not just from previous Nseries users, but also from new customers.

"The promise that comes with the Nokia brand and the Nseries sub-brand is extremely strong and has high value for the user."

The point about the N95 was it was the first of Nokia’s Nseries phones to pack in absolutely everything, and stood alone in the market at the very high-end of mass market multimedia devices.

But the N96, due next month, may find it harder with the heightened competition to make a mark in the same way.

Notably, O2 has already ruled the N96 out. It has the Apple iPhone of course, and a spokesperson said simply its move was a "portfolio decision".

Full article appears in Mobile News issue 422 (September 8, 2008).

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