Nokia is hoping that the launch of the Apple iPhone will be a boost to all smartphone manufacturers, and not just Apple. That's what Nokia chief Rick Simonson said yesterday. He added that the iPhone could raise the profile of smartphones and boost the market as a whole.

"The American consumer hasn't had a lot of choice to go out and purchase these kind of higher-end, feature-rich multimedia devices. If [the iPhone] can help that market grow, I think that gives us an opportunity," Simonson said at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit.

"Don't get me wrong, they will bring some things to the table that we have to be responsive to, but we have been investing in this area or some time," Simonson said. "We are leading in multimedia convergence."

Smartphones are generally a lot more expensive than normal phones. They often include many more features and act more like a mini computer than just a mobile communications device. The added functionality and pricey retail costs mean that generally only business users buy smartphones.

The future

But Nokia thinks that the Apple iPhone's status as an expensive yet desirable smartphone will raise the profile of these kinds of devices. It may get to the point where more people are buying smartphones than normal handsets.

Apple aims to sell 10 million iPhones before the end of 2008.