Nokia may enter laptop market

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Nokia may enter laptop market

Ian Grant

Mobile phone maker Nokia may get into the laptop business.

CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo told Finnish national broadcaster YLE on Wednesday that the firm was "looking very actively" at the move, which was first rumoured late last year, Reuters reported.

The news agency reported Kallasvuo saying, "We don't have to look even for five years from now to see that what we know as a cellphone and what we know as a PC are in many ways converging."

Nokia may find the mobile internet device (MID) market crowded. To name just two competitors, netbook maker Asus plans to add Google's Android mobile phone operating system to its armoury, and Acer, the world's third biggest PC maker last week launched eight cellphone models.

Market analyst Juniper Research predicts the market for high-end smartphones will grow 95% to hit 300 million a year by 2010. While margins in smartphones are juicy, those in the netbook market are extremely thin.

As HP's latest results show, demand for laptops is growing, but at the price of profit margins. The recession is one cause, but so too is the availability of well-specified netbooks at less than half the price of a traditional laptop.

This is possible because they usually use free open source operating systems like Linux and office applications such as OpenOffice or even Google Apps.

Nokia said last week in Barcelona that Symbian, its high-end smartphone operating system, will be converted into an open source product from 2010. Nokia also announced a well-funded software developers' competition for applications for its N97 smartphone. Like the Android-based G1, The N97 comes with a full qwerty keyboard that makes activities like Twittering and Facebooking much easier.

With many mobile network operators already selling net-enabled laptops in their shops, Nokia will also be able to use its distribution network to flood the market.


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