Nokia unveiled its first netbook. Called the Nokia Booklet 3G, the long-rumored device features a 10-inch screen, weighs 2.75 pounds, runs Windows, and has Wi-Fi 802.11g as well as to cellular 3G wireless networks.
Throw a stone in the dark with All Electronics companies around and chances are high that you will hit a company who has a Netbook released or upcoming. Whether it’s a Graphics leader like Nvidia or a small computer manufacturer like CompuTex any brand can have a Netbook.
All you need is marketing and a supplier. This Finland based comapny already has a Big Marketing thick on the ground.
You could call it a fancy netbook, what with its Atom processor and 10.1-inch display, but that screen is higher res than your average Eee, and it also sports integrated 3G wireless and a hot-swappable SIM card, so it’s definitely trying to define its own niche. It looks to be running Windows 7, which isn’t particularly netbooky, and also has integrated A-GPS with a copy of Ovi Maps, HDMI output, a rated 12 hour battery life, and the usual Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, all in Dimensions of 2cm (.78 inch) and weight of 2.7lb aluminum body that’s understated, sophisticated, and should make most Nokia fans very happy.
There’s a fancy promotional video after the break, and while we don’t have any anticipated release date or price just yet, we’ll be learning more at Nokia World 09 on September 2.
Here’s what distinguishes this Netbook from others –
1. It’s a HD Multimedia Netbook
A 10.1-inch screen is par for the netbook course, but a glossy screen promising HD isn’t. Nokia hasn’t said what the resolution is, but we reckon it’ll spit out 720p no problem – unlike the Sony VAIO P, which bucks the low-res trend too, but can barely handle video at all. Though Nvidia TEGRA Netbook would be even better but since that will run windows CE, Nokia takes advantage over here.
The Nokia Booklet 3G will be one of a select few 10-inch laptops to pack HDMI, so you’ll be able to hook it up to your flatscreen and playback hi-deffy video on it whenever the urge grabs you – and since it’s so small you know it’ll be ninja silent too.
2. Great battery life
When Nokia says the Nokia Booklet 3G will run for 12 hours, you know it means it. The chaps at Espoo are legendary for cranking out phones with battery lives that last longer than most celebrity marriages – don’t expect the Nokia Booklet 3G to be any different.
3. Hot swappable SIM slot
So you pick up the Nokia Booklet 3G subsidised with a 3G mobile broadband bundle. Imagine the horror when you turn it on one day to discover no signal where you are. The horror! Not to worry though, you can just swap it out for your phone’s SIM card instead and you’re away surfing.
The Nokia Booklet 3G comes with it out of the box. Add that to Nokia’s powerful Ovi Maps service and you’ve got one convenient way to get around. Nokia says an Ovi Maps “gadget” will be included – we’re hoping that means as an instant-on app. Though there exists other Netbooks which have it too.
Who could beat this Netbook?
1. Nvidia Tegra
This may be a move by Nokia to grab initiative from rival Apple. In the past several years, the iPhone maker has managed to grab significant share in the lucrative, fast-growing market for smartphones away from Nokia. Apple is also rumored to be developing a tablet netbook. With this announcement, Nokia may be trying to beat Apple to the punch.
Netbooks should help fuel Nokia’s growth, which has slowed down in recent months. The cell phone business is not what it used to be. Amidst the global economic downturn, the industry’s sales of handsets should decline 10% this year, according to Nokia’s forecasts. Meanwhile, netbook shipments should double this year, according to analyst estimates.
Many netbooks are sold through traditional Nokia customers, carriers, and, thus, represent a natural extension of the company’s business. In Europe, wireless service providers account for more than 25% of all netbooks sold, according to consultant IDC. The carriers typically sell the small, cheap notebooks bundled together with Web connectivity services.
Carrier subsidies on netbooks are roughly similar to those for smartphones, which is why, for Nokia, entering this market makes perfect sense. Nokia is entering a market that offers fairly good margins.
In Nokia’s case, to sell it’s Ovi data services, Maps, photo exchanges, data syncing — sure sounds like PC data. So why not put it into a PC while you work on a handheld people will buy?
It’s the connection between hardware and services that makes this story of interest to open source users. Services are the key open source business model. You can’t make someone buy a support subscription, but if they are buying the services provided by your software their checkbook is open to you.
“Learn from Nokia – meld a kick ass, industrial design with customized software experience and have it subsidized by an alternative business model, be that subsidy or services offering, movies and entertainment – that’s a better way to skin this cat,” Zemlin told in March.
This is what Moblin is about, what Android is about, and what Nokia’s own open source Symbian is about. Service revenue driving open source adoption.
That netbooks would offer good margins may seem counterintuitive. After all, traditional PC industry’s margins are razor thin. But consider: In its latest, second quarter, Nokia’s devices and services business’s margins hovered around 4.3%. PC maker Hewlett-Packard’s operating margins in personal systems, which encompass PCs and notebooks, fell to 4.6% in the quarter ended July 31. So, in actuality, Nokia’s and H-P’s financial metrics are not that different.
Meanwhile, netbook margins should be fatter. Here’s one reason: Nokia’s Booklet comes bundled with Nokia’s Ovi services, which will, in the long run, allow Nokia to make additional revenues on mobile e-commerce and extra features.
The big question that remains: Will consumers love Nokia’s netbook? Nokia has a strong brand and a loyal following in most global markets, except for the U.S. The netbook comes equipped with Windows, which consumers want.
But it’s going to be a multi-corner race among open source, Apple, Microsoft, and RIM. The Netbook gets Nokia into that game.