After what feels like forever, Nokia
's latest shot at breaking ground
in the American smartphone market has arrived. The highly sophisticated
smartphone, which has been available overseas for a small while
now, is finally shipping to US customers. By and large, Nokia is still
struggling to have its smartphones taken seriously in the US market.
The company has managed to land its lower-end units on various
carriers, but in most cases (the N97 included), its smartphones have
been sold without carrier support.
In other words, those looking to secure an N97 will have to buy it
off-contract, which obviously has its pros and cons. On the plus side,
you don't have to sign any lengthy contracts with a cellphone operator.
But that freedom comes at a cost -- a steep, steep cost. The N97 is a
GSM handset, sold unlocked for use on T-Mobile USA or AT&T (sorry,
Verizon Wireless/Sprint users!). It has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a
tilting 3.5" touch panel, a customizable home screen, access to Nokia's
Ovi Store (applications and such) and Qik built-in.
According to Jonas Geust, Vice President and head of Nokia Nseries, the
N97 is an "important step towards our vision of delivering a highly
personalized Internet experience." Ever since Apple's iPhone hit the
scene, other companies have been working day and night to bring a
better Web experience to their smartphone(s). Needless to say, Nokia is
no different. The phone is also a multi-media powerhouse, packing 32GB
of memory as well as a microSD expansion slot. Remember that "steep
price" bit we mentioned earlier? Yeah -- the N97 is being sold for
$699.99, so it's certainly not for the non-diehard.