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Nokia brandishes superfluous Booklet

A laptop by any other name is just as meh

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Comment Nokia has come late to the game with its Booklet, but the move is probably less about selling computers and more about ousting the cuckoos infesting Slough and Newbury.

Nokia has been trying to spin its Booklet as something end users want, when in reality it’s a piece of hardware designed to appeal to network operators who might otherwise be tempted to offer a subsidy on something from Dell, Acer or anyone else who sticks a 3G modem into their kit.

End users often imagine that cellular kit is created for their benefit, despite not expecting to pay for it beyond the usual overpriced contracts and calling rates. It's the network operators who choose which kit to subsidise, through long negotiations that used to take place on golf courses but are increasingly happening round a table at head office.

Samsung spent a fortune ensuring a seat at that table, while at O2's offices in Slough the meeting room concerned was completely refitted by Nokia, which was nice. But now everyone from Acer and Compaq to Toshiba are coming along with their laptops to negotiate a subsidy: providing the ideal opportunity to whip out their latest handset, just in case the operator is interested.

Which puts Nokia in a difficult position: let the competition in the door, or create a mediocre product to ensure the operators don't have to go elsewhere. It seems the latter option most appealed to the Finns.

Not that Nokia would admit this, of course - the company is obliged to harp on about the Booklet's "HD-Ready" display and 12-hour battery life. But this product isn't the start of any new direction for Nokia, just a little doorwedge to hold back the competition for another month or two. ®

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