Nokia CEO touts N97 smartphone

Speaking at D: All Things Digital, Finnish executive shows off the company's latest smartphone. The good news is that it is coming to the U.S. The bad: it costs $699.

CARLSBAD, Calif.--Nokia's CEO showed off a device on Wednesday that looked every bit as sexy as something from Apple, Palm, or Research In Motion.

The N97 has a large touch screen, built-in cameras, a text-to-speech reader, FM transmitter, 32GB of built-in memory, mapping, and all other kinds of bells and whistles.

The biggest problem, at least for people in the U.S., is that like many Nokia phones, the N97 will only be sold here separate from phone service. That means it is sold unsubsidized, in this case with a $699 sticker price.

However, CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo told the that his company is in talks with U.S. carriers in hopes of being able to offer the phone at a lower price.

The device can play Amazon Unboxed videos as well as videos straight from YouTube's site on its 640x360-pixel screen, and even video chat via its second camera, which is on the screen's front. It comes in white and black, Nokia said.

"That was pretty cool," Walt Mossberg said. "I think so too," Kallasvuo said.

Given that, though, Mossberg asked why the company has less than 10 percent share in the U.S.

"What is your problem in the United States," Mossberg said.

Kallasvuo said that the company is working intensely with U.S. carriers. "I think we are getting great traction there," he said, noting that a version of the e71 is now selling on AT&T.

He said it won't be on CDMA carriers such as Sprint or Verizon, but said that T-Mobile and AT&T remain possibilities.

"On Randall, I am working," he said, referring to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, who spoke at D earlier on Wednesday .

 

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