updated 08:00 am EST, Wed November 12, 2008
Nokia today quickly chased its early press info with the formal launch of the E63 (link active soon). A budget alternative to the E71, the full QWERTY smartphone is geared towards the same audience as the BlackBerry Curve but also the growing audience of those who want a smartphone without the usual cost. It's for users who may be updating their social networks in addition to (or in place of) checking Exchange e-mail from work, the company argues.
The design achieves this by switching from the part-metal casing of the E71 to plastic that also lets Nokia adopt brighter colors: the launch versions will ship in blue and red rather than black or silver. HSPA-based 3G is also dropped in favor of quad-band EDGE and for using the phone's Wi-Fi for faster networking on hotspots. A lower-resolution two-megapixel camera is also standard. Home users are accommodated through a native 3.5mm headphone jack and Nokia's more recent media player software.
Storage is handled chiefly through a microSDHC slot, though Nokia says it will give all E63 owners free access to 1GB of space through Files on Ovi, a sync service that lets users put their computer's files online for access from the phone.
Where Nokia will release the device is unknown, though the wide frequency range includes the 850MHz band needed for North American carriers like AT&T, Rogers and T-Mobile USA. The company also intends to price the E63 aggressively and plans to ship it in "coming weeks" for 199 euros ($251) before carrier subsidies and may be available for a low price or free with a contract.