Nokia Netbook Due; Can Apple Tablet Be Far Behind?

By  Susan Nunziata — August 24, 2009

Nokia is going up against some 25 contenders in the netbook market, with plans to introduce its own Windows-based Booklet 3G.

Details on pricing and availability will be announced Sept. 2, 2009 at the company's annual Nokia World event. The company has a worldwide network of carrier relationships that is likely to help the Booklet gain traction in the marketplace.

Indeed, a number of carriers have been applying the same subsidized pricing approach to netbooks that they've been using for cellphones and smartphones.

It remains to be seen whether Nokia's Booklet will beat Apple to the netbook punch. The iPhone maker is widely rumored to have a tablet in the works. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reports on August 25, 2009, that Steve Jobs has returned from medical leave to personally oversee the development of an Apple tablet expected to be released by year's end.

ABI Research forecasts that 35 million netbooks will ship worldwide in 2009, growing to 139 million shipments in 2013. While Nokia remains the leader among mobile phone vendors in worldwide market share, its 2Q 2009 handset shipments are down 15.4% to 103.2 million units from 122.0 million units in the same quarter a year ago, according to IDC.

"Nokia is leaving its handset comfort zone and entering the netbook fray. The market is hectic but there are no unassailable vendors," says ABI Research senior analyst Jeff Orr. "With no fewer than 25 device competitors and mobile network operators experimenting with netbook subsidies, now is the ideal window of opportunity for Nokia to test the waters."

What About The Specs?
Powered by an Intel Atom processor, the Nokia Booklet 3G will deliver up to 12 hours of battery life, according to the company. Connectivity options include 3G / HSPA and WiFi. Weighing in a 1.25 kilograms and slightly more than 2 centimeters thick, the netbook also comes with an HDMI port for HD video out, a front-facing camera for video calling, integrated Bluetooth and an easily accessible SD card reader.

Other premium features include the 10-inch glass HD-ready display and integrated A-GPS which, working with the Ovi Maps gadget, can pinpoint your position in seconds and open up access for a truly personal maps experience.

"Few of Nokia's traditional smartphone competitors (e.g., Motorola, Palm, RIM, SonyEricsson) have the wherewithal to compete in the netbook market and be successful," says Jack Gold, Founder & Principal Analyst at Jack Gold Associates.

Adds Gold, "Even Apple would have a difficult time competing in this space at it does not enjoy the distribution breath of Nokia, nor is it good at being a low cost producer. However, Nokia's emerging competitors from the Far East (e.g., Asus, Huawei, HTC, ZTE) have also targeted this space for growth in both home markets and abroad. Nokia needed to move up to netbooks in order to remain competitive and limit the impact these up and coming suppliers have on Nokia's overall business, including its traditional smartphone business, which several of these companies are also targeting."

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