Nokia Releases the N97: Perhaps the Best 'iPhone Killer' Yet

We have the Omnia, the Dare, the G1, the Storm, the Touch Diamond/Pro and the list keeps growing. Add to the ranks of touch-screen "iPhone Killers" the new N97, announced by Nokia today in Barcelona at the company's Nokia World event. From the press release:

Nokia today unveiled the Nokia N97, the world's most advanced mobile computer, which will transform the way people connect to the Internet and to each other. Designed for the needs of Internet-savvy consumers, the Nokia N97 combines a large 3.5" touch display with a full QWERTY keyboard, providing an 'always open' window to favorite social networking sites and Internet destinations. Nokia's flagship Nseries device introduces leading technology - including multiple sensors, memory, processing power and connection speeds - for people to create a personal Internet and share their 'social location.'

What is "social location":

With integrated A-GPS sensors and an electronic compass, the Nokia N97 mobile computer intuitively understands where it is. The Nokia N97 makes it easy to update social networks automatically with real-time information, giving approved friends the ability to update their 'status' and share their 'social location' as well as related pictures or videos.

A little bit AT&T Tilt (HTC), a lot iPhone the device does (reportedly) have a number of important features that the iPhone doesn't:

  • Cut and paste
  • Video (DVD quality)
  • 5 megapixel camera 
  • GPS-enabled turn by turn directions
  • And it starts out with 32GB of storage, expandable to 48GB

The service is also tied in with Nokia's Ovi (modeled now on Apple's MobileMe), music and gaming services, as well as a new and improved version of Nokia Maps.

At least in terms of the several bullets above, the N97 outdoes the iPhone in some important ways. There are also apparently some drawbacks vs. the iPhone. The unsubsidized price is apparently a whopping €550 ($695). And the phone will first be available in Asia in 1H '09 with a US version at an unspecified time later next year.

It was important for Nokia to develop a high-end response to the iPhone, which together with other competitors has eroded Nokia market share.

You can read more preliminary reviews and commentary at Techmeme. And here's Nokia video of the phone in action.

Nokia N97