Nokia's Netbook Move: On Time Or Late?


Nokia on Monday said it is moving to enter the netbook market with its upcoming Nokia Booklet 3G, but left unanswered the question of whether it can succeed in the face of an increasingly crowded pool of look-alike products.

The Nokia Booklet 3G, officially unveiled on Monday with details about availability and pricing expected on Sept. 2, has all the attributes expected of a netbook.

Similar to netbooks from a multitude of vendors, these features include an Intel Atom processor, 12-hour battery life, 3G and Wi-Fi wireless capability, 10-inch display, GPS, weight of about 2.5 pounds and height of less than 1 inch.

Nokia also is making the Booklet 3G compatible with its Ovi Suite to give it access to music tracks through the Nokia Music Store or synchronize with Nokia smartphones.

Unfortunately for Nokia, the netbook market already is crowded. Consumers can purchase netbooks for a typical price of $249 to $299 through several retail outlets. Meanwhile, carriers such as Verizon are offering netbooks at reduced prices when purchased with wireless service.

And while Nokia is readying its Booklet 3G netbook offering, rival Apple appears to be doing the same, as industry reports indicate that Apple will unveil its own netbook as early as October.

Another variable is the strength of netbook sales in the face of aggressive moves by notebook PC manufacturers.

OfficeMax, for instance, recently advertised the Acer Aspire AS5515-5187 notebook PC with 15.4-inch screen, AMD Athlon processor, 3 GB of memory, a 160-GB hard drive, a dual-layer DVD/CD burner and wireless connectivity for only $299.25, including free shipping. Acer notebooks recently have been advertised for as little as $279.

The question of whether the Nokia Booklet 3G netbook is on time or late to market may be answered next week.