New Nokia phone, music service set to cripple Apple

By Patrick Avenell

Nokia has once again ramped up its peripherals offering, and is now taking on Apple, and the iPhone, in the digital music/mobile phone market.

Launched in Singapore earlier today, Nokia’s new Comes With Music digital entertainment service promises to give users of certain Nokia handsets one year of free unlimited access to the Nokia music store’s complete catalogue. The first qualifying device is the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, which was also unveiled today.

Talking about this launch is Nokia vice president, sales, Chris Carr.

“With the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, we set out to connect people through the one thing we all feel a universal connection to – music,” said Carr. “The way in which people enjoy music is different around the world. With that in mind, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic gives people the freedom to experience music they love in the way they prefer.”

The Comes With Music service is set to be rolled out in Australia in early next year, although Nokia Australia refused to speculate on a specific date.

“Comes With Music sets a precedent for consumer value and convenience that the rest of the digital entertainment industry is already copying,” said Nokia head of entertainment & communities category management Andrew Connell. “The freedom and simplicity of the service is unparalleled. Comes With Music gives you unlimited access to the millions of tracks in the Nokia Music Store and the music is all yours to keep – because its not a revolution unless you get to keep your music.”

The prospect of granting owners of a specific Nokia handset unlimited access to a plethora of music, both old and new, across many genres, must be disturbing to Apple, and its flagship iTunes store. The iTunes store currently charges $1.69 for a single download. This new announcement from Nokia, a company that already dominates the iPhone in terms of unit sales, could spark a trend from the leading handset suppliers, leading users away from pay-to-download online music stores.

In related news, one feature of the newly re-designed online Nokia Music Store causing some consternation with users is administrator only function. Unlike other sites, the Nokia software requires that one be the administrator of the computer in order to install the program. This excludes many potential users, who may be trying to access the store from a work or university computer. Considering how easy it is to download songs for free, albeit illegally, barriers such as these should not exist for those wishing to do the right thing.

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