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Nokia Rumoured to be Launching Four New Handsets with AT&T

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allinoneDALLAS, USA – Nokia has finally set its eyes on the US GSM market with the rumoured launch of four GSM phones in the US, prior to Europe.  The four devices in news will be under AT&T branding and are not mere rebranding of old Nokia models, but new models which have been kept under the wraps prior to this leak.

The Finnish giant has packed a big surprise with the form factor of the Nokia Mako (6790), which sports a full QWERTY sliding keyboard,  and a 2.4″ display with QVGA resolution (240×320 pixels), but the design is completely different from that of the Nokia E75, which also comes with a full QWERTY sliding keyboard and a 2.4″ display.

The Mako lacks the number-pad of the E75, and hence, it has to be slid open for the most basic operations. At 96x54x15mm, the Mako is quite compact for a full keyboard-bearing slider. With the sliding platform hidden, the 6790 can pass for an overused Nokia N85, noticeable by the design of screen and joystick.

The phone is packed with a 2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, quadband GSM connectivity, dualband HSDPA, A-GPS, 128MB of internal memory, a microSD memory card slot for external memory, Bluetooth, and it will be based on the S60 v3.2 platform.

The Nokia Thresher is the best of the four, going by the aesthetics of the four models. It looks better than some of the Nseries phones (although this may be subjective), such as the N85, which has a similar form factor. The device is equipped with a 3.2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, quadband GSM connectivity, triband HSDPA, a 2.4″ TFT display, A-GPS, 140MB of internal memory, a microSD memory card slot, microUSB connectivity for charging and data transfer, Bluetooth, an accelerometer (motion sensor), uplink noise cancellation, 360° optical joystick, and dedicated camera and zoom keys.  The phone will be based on the S40 platform, same as the Nokia 6610 slider and  the Nokia Supernova 7510.

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Both the Snapper and Grouper are clamshell phones being promoted as “Music Optimized” phones, despite lacking a standard 3.5 mm jack. The dedicated music control keys may be the reason for this branding. The two phones are loaded with a 2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, quadband GSM connectivity, triband HSDPA, A-GPS, 70MB of internal memory, a microSD memory card slot, Bluetooth, and USB 2.0 connectivity. The Grouper looks quite similar to the Motokrzr K1, and has a 2.2″ internal QVGA screen and a 1.3″ external screen, whereas the Snapper sports a 2.2″ internal TFT and 1.36″ external TFT screens. In terms of specifications, the Snapper is the best between the two, with its high-resolution TFT screen, and dedicated camera and zoom keys, although the Grouper beats the Snapper in the aesthetics department.

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While the Mako is certainly impressive with its full QWERTY sliding keyboard and S60 v3 platform, it falls short of expectations with its low-resolution screen with QVGA resolution, absence of Wi-Fi, and it’s the only device of the four to sport Bluetooth 2.0 and dualband HSPDA, compared to Bluetooth 2.1 and triband HSDPA of other three. The Thrasher is the best-aesthetically designed unit with its glossy finishing, and even it features a camera with higher resolution (3.2 megapixel), the best among the four. The Snapper and the Grouper have impressive specifications for a mediocre device, but the “Music Optimized” branding is rather incorrect, as the devices lack the standard 3.5mm headphone jack.

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The Mako is rumoured to be launched this June, followed by the Grouper in late July, the Snapper in early August and the Thresher in mid-September. Nokia has a history of neglecting North America with delayed launches and rebranding old models. Only time will tell if Nokia will be able to improve its reputation with its new line-up of phones for this market.

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By , Chief International Correspondent on Jun 5th, 2009 GMT +2

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