updated 09:55 am EDT, Wed August 29, 2007
Nokia 5610 and Music Store
Nokia today provided full details of its new Nokia Music Store, one of the first device-specific music stores available. Similar to more computer-focused stores, the service provides a wider catalog of "millions" of songs and includes systems for recommending music based on past purchases. Users can also tag songs rather than buy them to create a wish list for a later purchase, Nokia says. And in contrast to most mobile stores, all songs are encoded in 192Kbps Windows Media format rather than a heavily compressed format that translates poorly to listening on quality headphones or a computer.
Buying songs directly from the phone itself will initially require either an N81 or the N95 8GB, which come with a mobile client. Any user can buy songs from their computer and transfer them to a compatible phone, the company says. The Music Store debuts in Europe in the fall and will be accompanied by a Nokia Music PC client for Windows computers; Nokia didn't say whether Macs could purchase songs and use the Media Transfer Suite or manual copying to load songs. Prices will virtually match those from iTunes and similar stores with individual songs costing 1 Euro ($1.36) each and full albums costing 10 Euros ($13.60). An unlimited music streaming option for the PC will cost 10 Euros per month.
The new store will be part of Nokia's new Ovi portal, according to the company. Referring to the Finnish word for "door," the site will help mobile users easily reach the Music Store as well as N-Gage game downloads and updates to Nokia Maps.
Accompanying the release are two new phones in Nokia's music-oriented, mainstream XpressMusic series. The aluminum-trimmed 5610 slider comes with a music-friendly front interface, support for 4GB microSD cards, and up to 22 hours of audio playback. It also comes ready for video with a 3.2-megapixel camera, 3G Internet access, and a 2.2-inch LCD with 16.7 million visible colors. A simplified model, the 5310 XpressMusic, shares the 4GB support and 16.7 million colors but shifts media keys to the side of the smaller 2-inch screen, drops 3G, and comes with a more modest 2-megapixel camera.
Both of these phones will support the Nokia Music Store and should be available in the fall for 225 and 300 Euros ($307 and $409) before service discounts. No indication was made as to whether both phones would provide full support for US networks.