Trying to regain some of its lost market share, Nokia is hoping to woo both enterprise and consumer customers with a lighter, sleeker version of its high-end Communicator handset that will be released worldwide at the beginning of next year.
The Communicator 9300, which is both a phone and a PDA (personal digital assistant), opens from its side rather like a glasses case to reveal a full keyboard and 65,536-colour screen. It uses Bluetooth for wirelessly transmitting voice and data, offers high-speed internet browsing and comes with built-in office applications. The handset weighs 167g, compared to more than 200g for the previous Communicator.
"With voice communications and the PDA-like features, it is combining the best of both worlds and we feel that we've packaged it right this time," a nokia spokesperson said. "We feel this is the right form factor."
While the handset is aimed primarily at the corporate market, Nokia believes that the new product, which when closed looks and works much like a standard mobile phone, will appeal to a wider audience than its predecessors, Matthews added. The Communicator line was launched in 1996.
The Communicator 9300 will be released by Nokia in the first quarter of 2005 with an estimated price of €700 (£475) before subsidies by mobile service providers, Matthews said.
Nokia, which is the world's largest mobile phone maker, has been suffering this year from increased competition from the likes of Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Siemens, as well as makers of PDAs that include mobile phone capabilities such HP, PalmOne and Research In Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry device.
In the face of declining net sales, the company promised last April to quickly introduce new handsets and to focus on three areas of development: expanding mobile voice, driving consumers' use of multimedia and encouraging more business use of mobile applications.