updated 07:45 am EDT, Tue September 1, 2009
Nokia CWM Delayed in US
Nokia late yesterday revealed through a spokeswoman that the company will delay the launch of its Comes With Music unlimited subscription service in the US. Once on tap for 2009, the launch has now been postponed until sometime in 2010. No reason has been given for the delay, which comes almost a year after the initial promise of a later release.
It's suspected that the delay may stem partly from a mixed reaction to Comes With Music in the 10 countries that have access to the feature so far. Although Nokia has denied actually facing poor sales, the company acknowledged a poor device lineup as at least part of a factor in slow uptake as customers opt for more advanced phones; only the 5800 XpressMusic is completely modern. It has also never published statistics showing the number of purchasers either in a particular country or across the whole service.
Nokia's situation is especially difficult in the US, as few of its smartphones are carrier-subsidized in the country and fewer still are intended for music playback. The Finnish company usually has to sell its phones at their full price in an unlocked, carrier-independent form, but many of these frequently cost between $300 and $700.
The service was designed at the behest of major record labels, particularly Universal, which had hoped to create a viable alternative to iTunes in the mobile space by embedding the cost of one year of unlimited downloads into a phone's up-front price and letting users keep all their tracks even if they choose not to renew. However, the choices of aging devices along with an insistence on using copy-protected music incompatible with some devices and software, particularly Apple's, has hurt accessibility. One rumor has suggested Nokia will move to MP3 for the service next year to let users move tracks freely.