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Nokia Enters Netbook Fray

Broadening its product portfolio as its world-leading market share in mobile devices erodes, Nokia said today it is releasing what it calls a “mini-laptop” – the Nokia Booklet 3G.

The aluminum-clad netbook is powered by the Intel Atom processor, which is the chip of choice for many makers of netbooks, and runs Microsoft Windows. It also has a glass screen, a thin profile of just over two centimeters, 3G/HSPA and Wi-Fi connectivity, a built-in camera for video calls, and immediate access to Nokia’s Ovi suite of Web services – all features that could help the Booklet compete with the popular MacBooks, from Apple.

While most scaled-down netbooks offer basic built-in software and focus on Web connectivity, the Booklet “delivers the rich experience of a full-function PC inside an ultra-portable aluminum chassis,” the company said in a statement. That means it will further blur the distinctions between notebook computers, netbooks, and smartphones. Nokia, the world’s leading manufacturer of mobile devices, has seen its market share slide to 36.8 percent from 39.5 percent as rivals like Samsung and LG, not to mention the iPhone, have gained share.

“With no fewer than 25 device competitors and mobile network operators experimenting with netbook subsidies,” said ABI Research senior analyst Jeff Orr in a note on the Booklet, “now is the ideal window of opportunity for Nokia to test the waters.”

ABI has forecast that 35 million netbooks will ship worldwide in 2009, a number that will reach 139 million by 2013.

No carrier partners have been announced for the Booklet 3G. Further details can be expected at at Nokia World next week.

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