NEW YORK - Nokia Corp., the world's largest maker of cell phones, is launching a new phone next year that is designed to compete with Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Research In Motion Ltd. BlackBerrys at the high end of the market.
The N97 will feature a 3.5-inch touch screen with 50 percent greater resolution than the iPhone. It will also have a slide-out alphabetic keyboard, making it similar in overall design to the Xperia X1 recently launched by competitor Sony Ericsson.
Nokia announced the phone Tuesday at its Nokia World conference in Barcelona, Spain. It said it would cost around 550 euros, or about $700, before taxes or carrier subsidies when it launches next year. It will probably be compatible with AT&T Inc.'s high-speed data network in the U.S.
The phone will also have camera with a resolution of 5 megapixels, higher than most competing models.
The phone will run Symbian software, the standard for Nokia phones.
Nokia has had a hard time getting U.S. carriers and consumers interested in its high-end phones. They have lacked touch screens, and most have also been missing full-alphabet keyboards, two features strongly associated with "smart" phones in the U.S. market.
Two weeks, ago, Nokia said it was expecting the industry to sell 1.24 billion cell phones this year, down slightly from a previous estimate of 1.26 billion. Analysts have noted that sales of high-end phones are, somewhat surprisingly, holding up the best in the economic downturn