New Nokia phones targeted at enterprises

Nokia introduces two enterprise phones while Apple, RIM and Microsoft vie for users in that space

Nokia has expanded its family of enterprise phones with the introduction of the E71 and E66, which come at a time when Apple, Research in Motion and Microsoft are trying their best to attract enterprise customers.

The specs are very similar; both phones are equipped with support for HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) at 3.6M bps (bits per second), WLAN, navigation using A-GPS (Assisted Global Positioning System) and a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus.

They are optimized for personal and business e-mail, according to Nokia. Customers can choose among a wide variety of enterprise platforms, including Exchange and its own Intellisync, as well more consumer-focused services such as Gmail, Yahoo mail and Hotmail.

For Nokia the launch is a bit of a comeback in the enterprise market. It has been nine months since it launched the last model in the E family, said Leif-Olof Wallin, an analyst at Gartner.

"That is a long time in this business, and we believe Nokia was slowed down by a reorganization," said Wallin. He praised the latest additions to Nokia's portfolio, especially the E71, which will replace the E61i. "It has a really good keyboard, and is very slim," said Wallin.

But it's not the design which will be Nokia's greatest asset when competing for enterprise dollars. Instead, built-in hardware support for encryption and the ability to switch between personal and work e-mail at the push of a button will make it possible for the company to one up competitors, said Wallin.

"I would have liked to see Nokia taking the switching between personal and work even further, and including not only e-mail, but calendar and contacts as well. But what we are seeing now is only version 1.0," said Wallin.

The encryption of both the device memory and the memory card will help companies protect its phones without losing performance, and the built-in chip can also be used to store certificates and keys. In this field Nokia is years a head of the competition, according to Wallin.

Both phones are expected to start shipping in July and cost about US$538, before subsidies. The phones will cost about as much as an iPhone 3G when the subsidies are calculated in, according to Wallin.

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