Nokia touch-screen to miss Xmas in mature markets

LONDON (Reuters) - Nokia’s answer to Apple’s iPhone will go on sale in seven countries in Asia, the Middle East and Europe this year but will miss the Christmas shopping season in most developed markets.

The first touch-screen phone from the world’s top mobile phone maker will go on sale in India, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Russia and Spain by year-end.

The Nokia 5800 will cost 279 euros ($387) before operator subsidies and taxes, substantially less than the iPhone.

“The phone is competitively priced and Nokia’s competitive advantage is in emerging markets. When putting two and two together it’s logical they start the roll-out from emerging markets,” said analyst Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics.

The research firm expects Nokia to ship more than 10 million touch-screen phones next year.

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But JP Morgan analyst Ehud Gelblum said he had hoped the 5800 would be in shops in developed markets by Christmas.

“This is disappointing as we had expected the device to be shipping in the critical holiday season for most developed countries,” he wrote in a note published on Friday.

Spurred by Apple, LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics have already rolled out touch-screen phones over the last two years, mostly in developed markets.

Nokia said its schedule was similar to that for many other phones, adding that customizing the phone’s software for operators in other markets would take some time.

The touch user interface makes such adjustments more complex than for other types of phone.

Editing by Paul Bolding