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Questions about Nokia's new music phone

Nokia is rumored to be launching its would-be iPhone killer, the Nokia 5800, at an event in the U.K. tomorrow. Here's hoping they'll finally reveal concrete details about the Comes With Music service that will compete with iTunes.

Update 10/3: CNET's Bonnie Cha, with the assistance of a Nokia rep, has answers to many of these questions here. To summarize, Comes With Music really does offer unlimited downloads for one year, tracks are DRM-protected, and can be shared with one PC and other Comes With Music members but not burned to CD without an extra purchase, and release date for the U.S. is still up in the air.

Several sources are reporting that Nokia's expected to launch its would-be iPhone killer, the Nokia 5800 (code-named "Tube), tomorrow, Oct. 2, at an event in London. Based on leaked pictures, the phone itself looks pretty cool--a lot like an iPhone, in fact. But the big question for me is whether Nokia's music software and service will be competitive with Apple's iTunes.

This photo, rumored to be the upcoming Nokia 5800, appeared on Flickr back in April. Crave UK

Announced last December, Nokia's Comes With Music initiative has a lot of promise: instead of buying individual songs (like iTunes) or paying a subscription (like Rhapsody, the Zune Pass, and others), the cost of downloading music will be built into the price of the phone. Now, the service supposedly "launched" on Sept. 2 in the U.K., but the Nokia U.K. home page still has a form for users to indicate their interest in the service. No pricing, no details. Meanwhile, press speculation is all over the map. Most folks are assumingit'll come with unlimited downloads. But The Guardian Music Blog has done the math about royalties and concluded that there will be some sort of limit on the number of downloads. (I speculated the same thing back in April.)

So here's what Nokia needs to announce tomorrow as they roll out the 5800:

How much will the new phone cost? (If it's more than the iPhone, good luck.)

How many downloads will a user get, over what period?

What will users be able to do with those downloads? Will they be tethered to the phone? (No thanks.) Protected with DRM? (This may be acceptable if the restrictions are reasonable, although this means that downloads will probably not be playable on other devices if you ever give your Nokia phone up in the future.)

Will the downloads ever expire and become unplayable? If so, after what period or under what conditions? (This would be a deal-breaker for me--I don't want to redownload every time I buy a new phone--but might be acceptable for users who don't have huge libraries of downloads.)

I await the announcement when all will hopefully be revealed....