Nokia bulks up its business and mapping devices

16 Feb 2009

While it is no doubt licking its wounds from the economic crisis, the world’s largest mobile maker Nokia refuses to compromise on innovation and has brought out a range of new business and mapping phones at the GSM World Congress.

In Barcelona today, Nokia debuted new additions to the E-series range, the Nokia E75 (pictured) and Nokia E55.

These new phones are the first to ship with the company’s new email user interface. Both devices also come standard with Nokia Messaging which, when added to the company’s corporate email clients, offers users what Nokia claims to be the most-efficient solution for accessing the world’s consumer and corporate email on the go.

“Efficiency is about doing more with less and focusing on what’s truly essential,” said Kai Oistamo, executive vice-president at Nokia. “With direct access to Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Notes, companies can potentially save up to a third of their operating costs as there’s no need for middleware or additional servers.”

With the latest E-series devices, people will no longer need to boot up a PC to get a full desktop email experience. The enhanced email user interface (UI) includes folder and HTML email support, expandable views and sorting capability by date, sender and size, as well as the most commonly used email functions being just a single click away.

On top of email, the devices also offer improved calendar capability, as well as contacts and task management.

“With the Nokia E75 we took a lot of inspiration from the Nokia 9300, which was our first mini-communicator,” Oistamo said.

“Owners of the Nokia 9300 loved the messaging functionality a full keyboard provided, but also used the traditional phone keypad a great deal. With the Nokia E75, we kept these essential ingredients, significantly upgraded all of the features and made it as compact as possible.

“When we launched the Nokia E71 last year, we really set a new standard for just how compact a full QWERTY device could be,” Oistamo explained. “We have continued on this theme and have come back with the world’s most compact messaging device, the Nokia E55.”

With the benefits of a compact QWERTY keyboard – as well as one click access to the most commonly used programs – reading, managing and responding to emails is quick and efficient. Another key feature is the extensive battery life, with the Nokia E55 providing up to 28 days of standby time.

“With the Nokia E55 we have made messaging as efficient and pocketable as possible,” said Oistamo. “In our usage tests, the Nokia E55’s compact QWERTY keyboard has been proven to be fast to learn and quicker to use than standard phone keypads.”

Added to the Nokia Messaging service, both devices come with full Nokia Maps and assisted GPS with integrated 3-month licence for turn-by-turn navigation, and a great gaming experience with N-Gage on board.

With Ovi Files, also included on the Nokia E75, important files stored on a PC can be remotely managed and shared, even when your PC is switched off.

More than 10 million E-series units were shipped in 2008. “With companies looking to consolidate costs and assets, and with the number of email-enabled devices in the Nokia range and our direct access model, Nokia looks set to continue this performance in 2009,” Oistamo said.

In addition to the new E-series phones, Nokia also introduced the latest arrival in its Navigator line, the Nokia 6710 Navigator. Another new arrival is the Nokia 6720 classic, which builds on the Nokia heritage of traditional candybar phones.

“The navigation solution provided by the Nokia 6710 Navigator is second to none and provides everything you would expect from a dedicated GPS device with all the benefits of a converged mobile device,” said Markku Suomi, vice-president at Nokia.

The solution includes the latest developments in the Maps software with real-time ‘drive and walk’ navigation, full regional maps and hardware elements such as the dedicated navigator key, touch area for easy zooming and a large display optimised for outdoor viewing.

“We want to make the experience as simple and effective as possible, which means the navigation licences are pre-installed and ready to use as soon as you turn on the Navigator,” said Suomi.

The recent integration of Maps with Ovi allows people to pre-plan their journey at home on their PC and synchronise with their mobile device. Additionally, Maps has been updated to include a number of new features such as high-resolution aerial images, 3D landmarks for over 200 cities, terrain maps, weather service, premium travel and events content and traffic and safety warnings.

As well as including a compass, both the Nokia 6710 Navigator and the Nokia 6720 classic offer an improved design with a slightly curved shape, providing a pleasant feel with a soft touch surface. When holding the devices to take photos with the 5-megapixel camera, the new shape makes them easier to hold. 

The Nokia E75 is expected to ship in March at an estimated retail price of €375 before taxes and subsidies. The Nokia E55 is expected to ship in the second quarter at an estimated retail price of €265, before taxes and subsidies.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: the Nokia E75, one of the first phones to ship with Nokia’s new email user interface