Nokia, the global leader in cell phones (but lagging in the US), hinted about a netbook product launch last month. On Monday, they released more details (Nokia Enters the Netbook Market with the Booklet 3G). It appears to be a classy rendering of a modern netbook with all the standard screen (10 inch) processor (Intel Atom) and memory options. One nice touch: it has an HDMI port for external monitors, not the traditional 9-pin VGA port.
There are two schools of thought about this new netbook. One says Nokia has no experience in computers and will dilute it's focus from phones by selling a netbook. Others say this a natural extension of engineering strengths for Nokia, and they can leverage their huge dealer channel to push their way into the tight netbook market.
I'm happy to see them come into the space. The more smart people and big companies involved, the more engineering and technology improvements get made. How can this hurt? If Nokia loses a few million bucks on this product launch, it certainly won't hurt you and me, and won't hurt Nokia, either.
Nokia will release more details next week, but I doubt they'll be earth shaking. Nokia could make some mistakes, like overpricing the Booklet 3G or tying it too tightly to one or more cell phone carriers, but I doubt they'll blow it. Nokia may not yet have the pulse of the US market in smart phones, but they dominate in Europe and much of Asia. I wouldn't be surprised if they leverage that strength to become a high profile netbook brand outside the US, even if they can't convince Americans to buy one.