Nokia launches its cheapest touch phone yet

The 5230 will cost EUR149 ($US210) before subsidies and taxes

Nokia is driving down the price of its touch-screen phones: Its latest, the 5230, will cost EUR149 ($US210) before operator subsidies and taxes.

The phone has a 3.2-inch display and support for A-GPS (Assisted GPS) and HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) mobile broadband at 3.6M bits per second. It will have a microSD memory card slot and a standard 3.5 millimeter stereo headphone jack.

A version of the phone with Nokia's music download service Comes With Music will also be available, but access to that music adds EUR110 to the price tag.

The 5230 will start shipping outside North America during the fourth quarter, Nokia said.

In June Nokia launched another touch-screen phone, the 5530 XpressMusic, which was listed at EUR199 before taxes and subsidies, and in Oct. last year it launched the 5800 XpressMusic at EUR279.

Nokia's goal is to become the biggest supplier of touch phones, Nokia's CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo has said, and it's with mass market devices like this it's going to accomplish that, according to Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner.

The pricing of the 5230 at EUR149 is very aggressive, according to Milanesi. Nokia won't have the same margins as Apple has on the iPhone, but it will still be able make money, she said.

The launch event for the phone was held in India, which signals that Nokia has high hopes for the device in emerging markets, Milanesi said.

Currently, Nokia is trying to build buzz ahead of its Nokia World event, which will take place in Stuttgart on Sept. 2 and Sept. 3. Yesterday it launched its netbook, the Booklet 3G, and today the 5230.

Showing the Booklet 3G before the show was a smart move, according to Milanesi, because otherwise all the other products would have been drowned out at Nokia World. However, Nokia's portfolio is still lacking more high-end smart phones, she said.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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