Nokia launches new phone series targeting enterprises

Pushing an end-to-end package to enterprises, Nokia Corp. on Wednesday introduced the first three phones in a new series aimed specifically at business users.

"The Eseries is the first set of products specifically designed to meet business users' needs yet meet the stringent requirements of the IT professionals that are called upon to make sure these solutions work," said Mary McDowell, executive vice president and general manager at Nokia.

The new E60 bears a striking resemblance to the Blackberry handhelds offered by Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), Blackberry's creator. The E61 and the E70 borrow the form factors of other existing Nokia handsets. All three include 802.11g Wi-Fi radios.

Wednesday's announcement sets Nokia apart from some of its handset-maker competitors, said Tony Cripps, wireless software analyst at Ovum Ltd. "Nokia can claim to have a true Blackberry alternative," he said. The move is significant, he said, because Nokia is now offering an end-to-end product that includes the new phones, a recently introduced push e-mail software platform, security and the Series 60 handset software. By contrast, some of Nokia's handset competitors are only delivering pieces of that platform, Cripps noted. RIM has long offered a similar end-to-end package.

One key differentiator on the new series compared to the Blackberry devices is the Wi-Fi access. Nokia expects that enterprises can begin to allow workers to use the devices on corporate campuses to make and receive voice-over-Wi-Fi calls that are integrated with the corporate IP-PBX (Internet Prootcol-private branch exchange). Users could have one business number that reaches them via a wide area cellular network as well as via voice over Wi-Fi while on corporate campuses.

The phones are based on Symbian 9.1, the latest Symbian OS and are built on Nokia's Series 60 software platform. The phones also support a long list of e-mail clients including Blackberry, Seven Mobile Mail and Visto, in addition to Nokia's own Nokia Business Center software.

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