Nokia launches its first PDA

Nokia has introduced a new handset with organiser functions and a wide, touch-sensitive screen, opening the door for it to...

Nokia has introduced a new handset with organiser functions and a wide, touch-sensitive screen, opening the door for it to compete in the personal digital assistant market.

The 7710 will be Nokia's first handset featuring a screen that lets users access functions with a stylus, pitting it against PDA rivals such as PalmOne.

The handset will also function as a smartphone, featuring a digital camera, radio, internet browser and music player, and will run using Symbian's operating system.

It includes multimedia functions, such as a pre-installed eBook reader, and a mobile weblog client that users can view on a 8cm by 4cm, 65,536-colour display.

With its organiser functions and smartphone capabilities, Nokia is hoping the 7710 will allow it to compete in several markets simultaneously.

The 7710 will be available in Asia later this year and in Europe and Africa early in 2005, Nokia said. It is priced at €500 (£345).

The new multifunction handset was unveiled at the Nokia Mobility Conference, along with a number of other products and announcements aimed at filling out the Finnish mobile phone manufacturer's product portfolio.

Although Nokia is the world's largest handset maker, it has seen its profits slide in recent quarters as it faces increased competition from rivals offering improved handsets at reduced prices.

In addition, Nokia executives have admitted the company came late to the market for camera phones, and that it has been trying to climb back with a range of camera phone offerings.

The company has introduced two more camera phones, the 6020 which allows users to send animated multimedia messages, and the 3230, which offers mobile video recording and editing. Both are aimed at the midmarket, and will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2005.

Nokia is also courting business users, and in addition to offering a PDA-like handset, the company also announced it is offering a new camera phone with a Near Field Communication (NFC) shell that allows users to access services and exchange information with a touch gesture.

The service uses contactless Radio Frequency Identification and interconnection technologies, and allows users to access text message and browsing services by touching tags with shortcuts to the service.

The NFC shell and accompanying 3220 triband phone will be available in Europe during the first quarter of 2005, and in Asia and the Americas in the second quarter.

Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service

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