Nokia to unveil mid-range TV phone at 3GSM: sources

HELSINKI Wed Feb 7, 2007 7:50am EST

Shoppers stop to look at the cellular phone display in the Nokia store in Chicago, Illinois, June 24, 2006. Nokia is set to unveil its first mid-priced mobile TV phone model next week, as the world's top handset maker aims to increase the awareness of television on the go, sources close to the company said. REUTERS/Frank Polich

Shoppers stop to look at the cellular phone display in the Nokia store in Chicago, Illinois, June 24, 2006. Nokia is set to unveil its first mid-priced mobile TV phone model next week, as the world's top handset maker aims to increase the awareness of television on the go, sources close to the company said.

Credit: Reuters/Frank Polich

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia (NOK1V.HE) is set to unveil its first mid-priced mobile TV phone model next week, as the world's top handset maker aims to increase the awareness of television on the go, sources close to the company said.

A lack of affordable TV phones has capped the take-up of mobile television services around the world. The few available models are among the most expensive handsets on sale.

One source at a Nordic operator told Reuters the new model will be similar in form to Nokia's N7x series.

The N7 line-up is part of the N-Series multimedia phones aimed at the mass market, with N8 and N9 series aimed at more specific segments.

The phone, expected to be called the N77, is set to be unveiled at the 3GSM mobile communications trade show in Barcelona next week.

It will be able to receive TV signals broadcast in DVB-H technology, one of the most popular of the many new digital broadcast formats for mobile devices.

"Immediately when the phone prices reach the 200-300 euro price point, mobile television goes mass market," the source said.

Harri Mannisto, a director in Nokia's Multimedia unit, declined to comment on the possible product launch.

Cellphone makers and operators alike are keen to tap the potentially lucrative market in phones that receive television broadcasts.

Finnish Nokia and many other European industry players favor the homegrown DVB-H for watching television broadcasts on cellphones globally, but competing technologies include DMB and MediaFlo.

Nokia aimed to start selling its first DVB-H model, the N92, in the middle of last year, but delayed sales until November, holding off for the commercial launch of compatible networks, the first of which came in Vietnam.

The phone, which costs about $800 in Vietnam, has been used in many non-commercial trials around the world.

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