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Nokia Targets the Dudes

In one of the most blatant attempts at sector marketing in recent, er, days, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is set to unveil at least one cool new handset at its Totally Board (skateboarders, freestyle skiers, snowboarders, other cool dudes) event in Marseille on Friday morning.

Yes. Snowboarding. On the French Riviera. Those crazy Finns have trucked in 300 tons of snow (see Nokia's Totally Board).

Among the baseball caps, and to the sounds from such turntable luminaries as DJEL, DJ Get Down, DJ Snipe, and DJ Soon (DJ honest!), Nokia will unveil the 3650.

This is set to be a cheaper camera phone than the 7650 (see The Nokia 7650 Imaging Phone) but with a bigger screen. One way of keeping the price down would be to rely on Nokia's own operating system and not incorporate the Symbian OS on the handset, according to analysts at Nomura International, who also believe this model will not hit the shops in time for Christmas. Prepare to be disappointed on December 25, dude!

First impressions from equipment watchers at Lehman Brothers is that it looks nice but may be a bit bulky. The Lehman guys think this will likely be a hit with the youth market (snowboarders, maybe?), but its bulky nature could "put a bulge in your pocket." But remember, if you're 17 and on a major testosterone trip, that could be a strong selling point [ed note: gnarly]! It's likely to be one of the cheapest multimedia messaging (MMS) handsets on the market once it's in the stores, add the chaps at Lehman.

The 3650 is a tri-band GPRS model that includes Java functionality and supports video streaming. A standby time of up to 200 hours and 4 hours' talk time will vary, depending on how much the camera and screen are used.

The Lehman analysts expect the 3650 to be one of a number of new models unveiled at the Marseille event, and expect more in the coming months, though many will likely be variants of existing handsets.

Let's hope this will be the first of many cheaper handsets with embedded cameras to be launched in the coming months, as picture messaging is getting some heavy marketing in Europe. It would be a crying shame if there were a dearth of handsets in the shops when "the kids" rollerblade through the doors in the hope they'll soon be picture messaging, and not just texting, from the ramps.

— Ray DJ Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung
www.unstrung.com
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