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Nokia and IBM update the Communicator with Wi-Fi

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3GSM Nokia has buffed up its venerable 9000 series Communicator with tri-band GSM, GPRS EDGE and Wi-Fi support, in partnership with IBM. But this isn't the long-awaited version based on the Hildon user interface. It uses Series 80, which made its debut three years ago but which has been de-emphasized in favor of the new Series 90 platform. Series 90 differs by adding pen-input and sleeker menus.

The phone is pitched firmly at enterprises. IBM has added security and management features, and prodded Siebel and SAP to release client versions of the software for the phone; a price tag of €800 ($1000) should keep it out of reach of the consumer market.

Sources told The Register that the first keyboard-based device to sport the Hildon user interface was late because of an internal decision to use backport the UI to Series 80. Series 90 was delivered in November, with the as-yet unreleased 7700 media phone.

The 9500 is pretty significant in at least one respect: it's Nokia's first Wi-Fi phone, and shows that Nokia carrier customers have nothing to fear from supporting devices with both cellular and 802.11b technologies. ®

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