HELSINKI, Finland – Nokia Corp., the world's top mobile phone maker, launched three new multimedia handsets Wednesday that let users watch TV, play music and swap content between electronic devices at home.
The new phones, including Nokia's first consumer-oriented handset with Wi-Fi (search) wireless Internet connectivity, are the latest products in Nokia's push to make advanced handsets that converge mobile phone, broadcasting and Internet technologies.
"We expect the market for convergence devices to double to 100 million units in 2006," Chief Executive Jorma Ollila (search) said.
The new handsets were unveiled at a conference in Barcelona, Spain. They are expected to be available in stores in the first half of next year with prices ranging from $480 to $720.
The N80 features Wi-Fi connectivity for fast Internet browsing, as well as new technology that allows it to be used as a remote control for wireless swapping of content between compatible computers, audio equipment and TVs.
The phone also is built to let calls be routed over Wi-Fi as an inexpensive alternative to traditional cellular networks. But that feature won't be available until next year, when Nokia expects to partner with a provider of software for Internet calls, Nokia spokesman Kari Tuutti said.
Nokia competitors Motorola Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. already have unveiled Wi-Fi phones.
The Nokia N92 has a digital video receiver (search) allowing users to watch and record live TV, while the N71 features stereo FM radio, a music and video player and Nokia's new web browser for smartphones. It also includes a video phone call feature.
Nokia introduced the first phones in its flagship N series in April in order to strengthen the company's position atop the market. Those phones got only a lukewarm reception from analysts and market watchers, despite being technically advanced.
Nokia is still seeing its strongest sales growth in low-end products in emerging markets.
But analysts welcomed the three new phones, saying they will help the Nokia brand become more associated with high-end products.
"We're talking more of a home computer than a phone," Helsinki-based telecom analyst Jari Honko (search) said. "The amount of things you can do with these devices is just incredible."
Nokia's U.S. shares rose 26 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $17.19 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.