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Nokia's New Touch

11:20 AM -- Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) took the wraps off the N97 smartphone today, the latest Nseries handset with a touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard that Nokia calls a "mobile computer." (See Nokia Unveils N97, New Services.)

The device boasts 32 Gbytes of onboard memory that can be expanded with a 16 Gbyte microSD card. The device also has what Nokia calls "social location" (or "So-Lo," for short) -- with integrated A-GPS sensors and an electronic compass, the device can automatically update a user's status on their social networks.

But Nokia is giving consumers plenty of time to continue buying iPhones, G1s, or other high-end touch-screen phones because the N97 won't go on sale until June next year. The estimated retail price will be €550 (US$700) before taxes and subsidies.

And not everyone will be able to get their hands on the N97, especially if they live in Japan. Nokia recently decided to exit the Japanese market almost entirely. NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) issued a statement yesterday to announce that it was canceling the launch of the Nokia E71 because of Nokia's decision to "terminate sales of all Japan-specific handsets through Japanese operators." (See Nokia Cuts Device, Networks Outlook and Nokia's Email BlackBerry Jam.)

Reportedly, Nokia wants to become an MVNO in the country that will offer only its luxury handset line, Vertu.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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