Nokia X3 Touch and Type (preview)

Nokia announces smartphone combining touchscreen and numeric keypad

Nokia will release its budget X3 Touch and Type smartphone in Australia this month. It has a hybrid design that combines a touchscreen as well as a traditional 12-button phone keypad.

The Nokia X3 Touch and Type has a sleek, brushed aluminium finish and will be available in five colours (white silver, dark metal, lilac and pink). It is also one of the thinnest Nokia phones ever at just 9.6mm. It weighs a mere 78 grams.

The Finnish company is targeting rapid texters who are used to using a traditional keyboard. According to Nokia, "Our research tells us consumers who have invested years in becoming fast one-handed, one-thumb texters want to maintain their speedy edge for SMS, chat and instant messaging — yet enjoy the benefits of touch as well."

The X3 Touch and Type has a different design to the Nokia N900 phone which has a touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard, and Nokia's upcoming flagship smartphone, the N8, which is a full touchscreen device with no physical keypad.

Despite its price, which is expected to be low, the Nokia X3 Touch and Type has plenty of features. Running the Symbian 40 Series operating system, the X3 includes 3G and HSPA support, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1. On the entertainment side, the X3 Touch and Type has a 5-megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, video recording, MP3 player and FM radio capability. Only 50 MB of internal memory is present, but the X3 Touch and Type has a microSD card slot that can be expanded with cards up to 16GB in size. According to Nokia, battery life is rated at five hours talk time and 17 days of standby time.

The X3 Touch and Type will have access to Nokia's Ovi Store for third-party applications, and will also feature Nokia Messaging — a client that offers push access to consumer e-mail and chat accounts.

The X3 Touch and Type is an intriguing hybrid phone, but it remains to be seen if the concept will take off. With its entry-level positioning, we are sceptical as to how responsive the 2.4in resistive touchscreen will be — it looks promising in Nokia's preview videos below, but we'll be keen to put it to the test when it launches in Australia in a few weeks.

Additional reporting by Mikael Ricknäs and Ross Catanzariti

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