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New Nokia 5800 music mobile hits sour note

Phone's U.S. launch gets interrupted by complaints that its earpiece is susceptible to moisture and ruins the speaker; users also report trouble connecting to AT&T's 3G network.

Updated at 10:15 PST Tuesday, March 3, with comment from Nokia.

Technical problems with the U.S. version of the newly launched Nokia 5800 music mobile phone have led flagship stores in New York and Chicago to pull the model, according to PC World. For now, U.S. customers have to settle for a European version instead.

Corinne Schulze/CNET

Nokia announced the new Nokia 5800 Xpress Music's availability in the United States Friday. Positioned as a rival to Apple's iPhone, the phone is a music device with a touch-screen interface, priced at $399 before taxes and subsidies in the U.S.

But according to PC World, the U.S. launch has been interrupted by consumer complaints that the earpiece is not properly protected against moisture, which ruins the speaker. Users have also reported difficulties connecting to AT&T's 3G network, and many customers have reportedly already returned their phones.

Following its introduction in October 2008, the Nokia 5800 Xpress Music has seen successful sales in a number of markets, including Hong Kong and Moscow, where the device sold out within hours of the sales kickoff, Nokia said.

Responding to complaints about the 3G network, Nokia said in a statement: "We are aware that some consumers have reported difficulties connecting with the 3G network when using the North American variant of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic device. We are looking into the cause of this now. In the meantime, we have temporarily suspended sales of the North America variant."

The Finnish company previously told that it shifted to a new earpiece supplier and that the earpiece problem should be fixed with models shipped after January.

As for connections to the 3G network, with Nokia's slogan of "connecting people," one hopes the company also works that one out.