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Nokia nixes flagship phone in US

Seven hours on the shelves for 3G-unfriendly mobe

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Nokia is pulling the flagship 5800 Xpress Music phone from some US stores as the handset seemed to be having problems with American 3G networks.

The withdrawal was spotted by The Nokia Blog, who popped into the New York store last week to take a look at the handset which was launched on Friday, only to be told that it had been withdrawn from sale after only seven hours on the shelves. The withdrawal was due to a problem with 3G connections, though staff were anticipating a quick fix.

The 5800 has only been launched in the New York and Chicago stores, both of which are now selling European versions of the handset which operate without problem, but don't support 3G connections. If 3G connectivity is the problem then it could also be down to AT&T, the exclusive carrier for the US version of the phone. However, MobileCrunch reckons that speaker problems also plague the handset which is being billed, if not by Nokia, as a response to Apple's iPhone.

Nokia has never been able to crack the American market, despite comprehensively dominating the rest of the world. Americans have always viewed mobile phones as tiny little laptops, and expect them to work that way - with tiny little keyboards showing tiny little websites - while Nokia has always been about squeezing more functionality into what is, basically, a telephone.

But that's not Nokia's only problem with America. The Finnish giant can't seem to get the hang of American marketing and doesn't seem to be trying - as pointed out by The Nokia Blog, the launch of the 5800 warranted a concert in Malaysia, a street fair in Thailand and the presence of the good Miss Hilton in the UK, while the US launch was limited, with distinct lack of fun hoohah, to two shops and one network.

Problems like this aren't going to help the Nokia brand in the USA, and even if a software fix rapidly solves the problem the brand will still suffer - and in a country where most people think the dominant smartphone platform is the iPhone, that's going to matter a lot. ®

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