Nokia intros phones and music recommendation service

Nokia has introduced phones and a music recommendation service that will launch later this year.

Nokia has introduced several phones and also announced a music recommendation service that hints at the potential for a full-blown music store from the company.

The N75, announced Tuesday, is Nokia's smallest multimedia phone and is targeted at the U.S. market. The new phone includes a camera, a music player and Internet access.

Nokia has been under pressure to release new, attractive devices in the U.S. since it announced in June that it will stop making CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) phones, which are widely used in the U.S.

"We don't rest until we make it here in the U.S.," said Anssi Vanjoki, executive vice president and general manager of multimedia for Nokia, during an event in New York that was Webcast. "The N75 will be my tool to get that going."

Nokia also introduced the N95, a phone that includes a 5-megapixel camera, GPS (Global Positioning System) capability with mapping applications and 3D graphics.

The N95 will operate on broadband WCDMA (wideband CDMA) and HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) networks in Europe and Asia. It will also include Wi-Fi.

The phone is based on Nokia's S60 software and the Symbian operating system and comes with Nokia's Web browser. Users can insert microSD cards for extra storage on the device and connect via mini USB (Universal Serial Bus) for data transfer.

The N95 is expected to become available in the first quarter of 2007 for Euro 550 (AUD$935). The N75 will cost between Euro 350 and Euro 390 and should be available by the holiday buying season.

Along with the phones, Nokia announced a music service that will become available worldwide by year-end.

Registered users of the service can browse a Web site to read music recommendations. Nokia has lined up 40 recommenders who are independent music enthusiasts working for well-known record shops around the globe. Nokia has also signed on musician David Bowie to contribute a monthly feature or podcast about new music that he has discovered. Visitors to the site will also be able to listen to music clips and read artist interviews.

The site will be launched first in the U.K. and Australia, although music fans around the world will be able to sign up to those sites when they're launched. Access to the site will be free.

Vanjoki hinted that the site might be expanded based on technology Nokia expects to acquire through the purchase of Loudeye. That acquisition, announced in August, hasn't closed yet so Vanjoki said he couldn't provide further details on how Loudeye's technology might be relevant to the new music recommendation site. He called Tuesday's announcement a "precursor" of things to come.

Nokia also introduced music editions of three existing phones, the N70, N73 and N91. The phones include dedicated music access keys, additional storage capacity and new software to make synching easier.

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Nancy Gohring

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