Nokia ships Java-ready 9210 Communicator

Nokia Corp. has begun shipping its Nokia 9210 Communicator mobile phone in Europe, Asia and Africa, the company announced Tuesday.

The 9210 handset is a combined phone and PDA (personal digital assistant) in a clamshell format that runs Symbian Ltd.'s EPOC operating system and Personal Java software. The phone also includes a version of Real Networks Inc.'s RealPlayer software, which will play video and audio files, according to Nokia spokesman Tekka Isosomppi.

The Nokia 9210 Communicator comes with a full keyboard, color display with 4,096 colors and maximum data transmission speeds of up to 43.2K bps (bits per second) working over the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) 900/1800 networks, Isosomppi said.

"The suggested price in Finland is 7,200 Finnish Markka ($AUD1,843). There is going to be a U.S. version offered next year, the 9290 Communicator -- which is identical and also based on the Symbian system," Isosomppi said.

The 9220 will run over 1900 GSM networks in the U.S., Isosomppi added.

Earlier this month at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco, Java guru James Gosling, vice president and fellow at Sun Microsystems Inc., and Nokia's President Pekka Ala-Pietilä both said that they see Java as a key tool for linking many types of devices, running different operating systems and various kinds of applications. During his keynote speech, Ala-Pietilä said that Nokia already plans to ship 50 million Java-enabled handsets by 2002 and then double that number the following year, making the company one of the leading Java promoters and users.

At the retail store, the Carphone Warehouse Group PLC, in central London on Tuesday, sales people said the first shipment of the 9210 Communicator is expected at the end of the month and that so far there has been a lot of customer interest.

"We were told that the phones would be in on the 17th but now that's been pushed back to the end of the month," said a saleswoman who asked not to be named due to company policy. "There has been a huge interest in the phone. Usually people just wait until it comes out, but every sales rep here has put at least two or three of the phones on hold, which is really unusual," she said.

The Carphone Warehouse plans to sell the Nokia 9210 Communicator for 500 pounds (US$703) when sold with a contract over Vodafone Group PLC or BT Cellnet PLC networks. "The person who will need this phone is somebody who needs a mobile office, and if current interest is any indication, there are loads of people who would fit the bill," another Carphone Warehouse salesman said.

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