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Nokia cuts down X6 handset

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Nokia is pushing out a cut-down version of its flagship X6 handset, halving the memory size to 16GB but also dropping the deal that provided free music to fill it.

The X6 was Nokia's "Comes With Music" handset - unavailable without the free-music bundle and priced to incorporate the expected cost of unlimited downloads, even if the figures seemed to show that any level of success would quickly become unsustainable even for Nokia. But that problem never materialised, as not a lot of people wanted to buy a phone with a built-in music-subscription service, prompting the launch of the 16GB version.

Not that Nokia sees things that way, of course, with the Finns presenting the X6 as a "baby brother" to the 32GB X6. It only notes that Comes With Music has been dropped in a blog posting about the launch. Even then, it spends more time talking about the colours in which the handset will be available (black and white, with the latter sporting optional pink or yellow highlights, since you asked).

But Reuters reports that the cut-down X6 is going to retail somewhere around €300, knocking a third off the price of the €450 X6.

Retail prices are, of course, subject to operator subsidy, and it's the level of that subsidy which often dictates if a handset makes it or not. Nokia's decision to offer their own music service, in competition to the operators' own efforts, however lacklustre, wasn't going to drive operators to offer a high subsidy. This makes the X6 an expensive handset.

Comes With Music isn't dead yet, but Nokia's attempt to reshape music distribution has been hit with a blow from which it may well never recover. ®

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