Nokia touchscreen iPhone rival due next year

Nokia is evolving its smartphone user interface on devices like the N81 8GB - and will introduce a touchscreen version next year

Nokia will be a launching a touchscreen operated smartphone to rival the iPhone next year.

Nokia's President and CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo confirmed at Nokia's London launch event today that Nokia would be introducing a touchscreen Symbian S60-powered multimedia phone in 2008. And in an accompanying video presentation, Nokia showed its next generation of user interface which will be phased on forthcoming S60 products, described as "the next level of user interface design". Kallasvuo said Nokia was taking "radical steps to bring simplicity into the way we interact with [mobile devices]".

At the Nokia: Go Play event in London, where Nokia introduced its new Nokia Music Store service to rival iTunes and two iPhone rivalling 8GB mobile music phones - the N81 8GB and N95 8GB - Nokia's video of the new touchscreen user interface looked remarkably iPhone-like. The few-second clip of the Nokia touchscreen UI showed a finger-operated, page-turning, multi-touch style screen.

As well as the new touchscreen user interface, Nokia is evolving its S60 interface to make it more user-friendly, with a selection of scrollable "panes" to make multi-function navigation easier. Nokia said that the new-look user interface would be developed in its forthcoming S60 phones and gradually spread down to other devices over time.