Nokia socks it to the iPhone

Nokia has responded to the upcoming threat of a European Apple iPhone with four new mobiles that debuted in London today. All four have dedicated music and gaming keys, more memory, large screens and better battery life, Nokia says.

Leading the charge are three new models from Nokia's Nseries of "multimedia computers" - the N81, N81 8GB and N95 8GB.

The Nokia N81 has all the features mentioned above, plus a 3.5mm headphone jack, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. It features a fast, 3D interface Nokia says, and enables you to download and manage content from the new Nokia Music Store and N-Gage games service also announced today.

The N81 will sell for 360 euros (£245) SIM-free. The N81 8GB - which has 8 Gigabytes of on-board memory - will cost 430 euros (£292) hands-free when it goes on sale at the end of the year. All prices exclude VAT.

Nokia N95 - smarter, better

Nokia has also given the existing N95 smartphone a makeover. The new model includes a 5-megapixel digital camera with Carl Zeiss lens, built-in Wi-Fi, HSDPA and GPS. It also now has a 2.8-inch QVGA screen - one of the largest ever seen on a multimedia computer, Nokia says.

Its increased storage capacity of 8GB is enough for 20 hours of video or 6,000 songs. It will be available before the end of the year for the SIM-free price of 560 euros (£380), excluding VAT.

Both the N81 and N95 are likely to go head-to-head with the Apple iPhone when it launches in Europe - something that's also expected to happen before the end of the year. The current US-only iPhone is available in both 4GB and 8GB guises and has an iPod audio-video player at its core.

It also has built-in Wi-Fi and HSDPA and enables you to surf the net and check your emails. However it conspicuously lacks 3G capability - something that's seen as essential for the iPhone to succeed in Europe.

Nokia 5610 XpressMusic

Also scheduled to join Nokia's music mobile range is the Nokia 5610 XpressMusic - an affordable 3G mobile aimed at those who don't need all the multimedia features. Nokia says the sliderphone 5610 can store up to 22 hours of music - 3,000 songs - using an optional 4GB microSD card. The phone also features a 3.2-megapixel camera with a built-in dual LED flash, and FM radio onboard.

The Nokia 5610 is again expected to debut at the end of the year. SIM-free price is 280 euros (£204), excluding VAT.

Nokia 5310 XpressMusic

The Nokia 5310 XpressMusic is a slimline candybar music phone. The 9.9mm thin aluminium finished 5310 has music player controls beside the display and can support MicroSD cards up to 4GB. The Nokia 5310 delivers up to 18 hours of music playback, and has a 3.5mm headphone jack socket.
The Nokia 5310's multimedia credentials are further enhanced by a 2-megapixel camera on-board.

The Nokia 5310 XpressMusic is scheduled to go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year priced at 225 euros (£150).