Nokia Nuron - the 5230 for T-Mobile USA

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Nokia and T-Mobile USA today announced the forthcoming availability of the Nokia Nuron. The Nuron is a T-Mobile customised version of the Nokia 5230 and is termed a 'smartphone for the masses'. It operates on T-Mobile's 3G network and will come pre-loaded with Ovi Store (including operator billing) and Ovi Maps (including worldwide free navigation). It will be one of the cheapest smartphones available in the US market.

Pricing has not been officially announced, but is expected to come in at around $70 on contract (effectively from free via third party retailers) or $180 as the handset only. The Nuron runs S60 5th Edition (Symbian^1) and key features include a 3.2" touchscreen, 2.0 megapixel camera, A-GPS, and 3.5mm audio jack.

It will be the first carrier-supported Nokia phone to be pre-loaded with Ovi Maps and will ship with the free Navigation version of the software (worldwide free car and pedestrian navigation with traffic information, travel guides, weather information and Facebook integration). Maps for the US, Mexico and Canada will be pre-loaded on the device, which will minimise data transfers and enables offline (i.e. no connection needed) routing and navigation.

Nokia Nuron

The Nuron will be an important phone for Nokia in the USA. where they have, in recent years, struggled to place their smartphones in US carriers device line-ups. Significantly, T-Mobile is accepting two of Nokia's key service solutions - Ovi Store and Ovi Maps. Previously the carriers have typically removed Nokia services from the handset during the customisation process (e.g. Nokia Messaging's absence from the E71x).

Moreover, the Nuron's pricing opens up smartphone functionality to a wider audience. It plays into Nokia's current strengths in the mid and low tier smartphone market. In the US, smartphones and their associated functionality are traditionally seen as high end products (iPhone, Palm Pre, Motorola Droid), but Nokia has driven its recent market share gains by shipping lower end smartphones like the Nokia 5800 and 5530. The Nuron offers the major portion of the functionality of the higher end devices for a much lower cost. Thus the Nuron is likely to appeal to a different set of customers than those looking at the iPhone and Android handsets and, consequently, may put Nokia on the road to improved marketshare and awareness in the US.

Similarly, for Symbian, it is important to be able to point to a device shipping in US developer's home market. The inclusion of Ovi Store and operator billing means that there will also be a significant distribution channel, which has sometimes been regarded as an area of weakness for Symbian in the past.

The 5230 is currently shipping in various markets, including the UK where it is available from £79 PAYG ($120).

From the press release:

"The Nokia 5230 Nuron is a great product of our collaboration with T-Mobile USA and provides consumers with more compelling mobile experiences as they navigate, watch video, play games and social network," said Mark Slater, Vice President, Sales, Nokia. "The Nokia Nuron offers U.S. consumers a unique and compelling mobile experience that caters to their everyday needs and enables them to connect to their passions with an affordable 3G touch smartphone."

"Many of our customers are looking for smartphones that deliver a great mobile Web experience with access to games and applications, all at an affordable price," said Travis Warren, director, product marketing, T-Mobile USA. "We are excited to partner with Nokia to offer our customers the Nokia 5230 Nuron, a 3G smartphone for the masses that delivers features like a full touch screen, free turn-by-turn navigation and a premium storefront for applications."

Further information is available on the Nokia USA website, and our original 5230 announcement story.

We'll have more content and coverage around the Nuron / Nokia 5230 very shortly.

Rafe Blandford, AAS