Nokia responds to Apple iPhone – 'it is a surprise that the iPhone is not 3G'

Stuart Dredge CES 2007, Macworld 2007, Mobile phones, Top stories 19 Comments

P1010676.JPGSo, the Apple iPhone has finally been announced (read all about it here if you’re still in the dark). So what does this mean for existing mobile phone makers? I just interviewed Nokia’s vice president of Nseries Computers Pekka Pohjakallio at CES, and here’s what he had to say, having spent the morning receiving text messages from Nokia’s spies watching Steve Jobs’ speech.

“I think it confirms our story,” he says. “We have been preaching the message of converged multimedia in one device, with lots of use cases and a good experience for the whole life of Nseries. And now Apple have come and said basically the same thing, even if they have implemented some things differently.

“It just confirms our message, and it’s good to have others preaching the same message. The best company will win in the end, so I think it’s good news for us. It’s not a threat, although of course it’s hard competition, but that usually makes you perform better yourself.”

However, Pohjakallio did point out one possible snag for Apple’s iPhone, even if it is well stocked for multimedia features.

“They had music, internet, an email deal with Yahoo and a deal with Google, but it is a 2G device, not 3G, which was a surprise to me,” he says. “And it’s coming first to the US market with Cingular, so let’s see. But overall, it’s very exciting for us.”

Of course, Pohjakallio didn’t just talk about the competition. Check the rest of the interview for his views on Nokia’s flagship multimedia handsets, and the challenges of making a phone that’s equally good at TV, music, gaming, Internet access and washing the dishes. Well, not that last one. Not yet.

By Stuart Dredge | January 9th, 2007





  • http://www.hdtvuk.tv Andy Merrett

    I’m surprised he’s surprised. The US primarily uses EDGE technology (which is the closest they’re economically coming to 3G at present) – and given that the US is the first market, it makes sense to use the standard most available. It would make no sense for the 1st generation US-based iPhone to go 3G – it might be good but it’s not enough to get Cingular / AT&T to upgrade their network to a full 3G standard in less than 6 months.

    Some seem to be talking as if this is the only iPhone that’ll ever be produced. It’s a first-gen piece of kit – it will evolve and models will surely adapt to different markets – after all many parts of Asia have their own 3G mobile network standards. It’s basically just a matter of plugging in new chips etc.

    It’s a shame we’ll have to wait for so long outside the US but it could mean a better second-generation iPhone makes it’s way here – all shiny and HSDPA compliant.

  • Arun

    I don’t think the iPhone will ever get 3g… there is no need at least in the US. As wi-fi (including free wi-fi)is implemented all around america the need for 3g will disappear. I think 3g in the US at least will die soon

  • http://www.hdtvuk.tv Andy Merrett

    It’s interesting (just remembered) that Eric Schmidt from Google was waxing lyrical about WIMAX – and potentially that’s the way (at least in cities) that things could go in the UK, too. So you could be right, Arun, though it wouldn’t be hard to make variants of the phone – everyone else does – though whether it’s worth it on comparatively smaller volumes.

  • http://www.sygyzy.com sygyzy

    I don’t think many people understand or realize that it’s not 3G vs EDGE. You can have both. It’s amazing, I know. Just like you can have a MP3 player with a FM tuner. Ask Creative. First of all, EDGE sucks. It’s theoretical max is about 130 Kbps. It’s actual, if you are lucky is more like 40-80. The biggest problem though is how inconsistent it is, even in metro areas. It doesn’t matter how long 3G takes to roll out. It would not have added that much to the cost to add 3G to it. Apple created a “internet device” running on ISDN speeds. As for not needing 3G because there is “WiFi” everywhere … what the heck are you talking about. Do you live INSIDE a Starbucks or Borders? There is no WiFi everywhere. But you know what there is (almost) everywhere? Cell coverage.

  • http://www.hdtvuk.tv Andy Merrett

    “Do you live INSIDE a Starbucks or Borders?”

    I wish…

  • PhilR8

    Yeah, it’s not hard to at least tack on a UMTS radio. I mean, this thing is $499 and doesn’t have 3G? It is VERY surprising. I can say that, as an American, I am surprised by the move.

    They demo’d google maps and the new york times during the presentation. Friends, let me tell you that loading that New York Times page on an EDGE connection would take minutes. MINUTES. Doesn’t sound like a long time, but when you’re sitting there, waiting for two minutes while your EDGE connection creeps along… it’s agonizing.

    And yeah… ubiquitious WIFI in the US is a pipe dream. Cell coverage, however, is getting better every day. Still not quite blanketing the country, but getting there. Cingular’s 3G coverage is also growing every day. Who knows where it will be in June, when the iPhone launches? Or next year?

    This product is obviously marketed to the urban tech geek elite, many of whom (if not all) are already familiar with 3G, be it in the form of GSM UMTS/HSDPA or CDMA EV-DO. I know ever since I upgraded to an EV-DO device, it is agonizingly frustrating whenever my coverage lapses back into 2G and I try to surf the web on my PDA. This is being specifically offered as an internet device, and as such, for $500, needs to have 3G. It is almost inexcusable not to include it.

    Consequently, I’ll stay away from the iPhone… for now. I have a 3G PDA that plays MP3s and movies. I even have a seperate portable MP3/satellite radio device. I’d consider getting the iPhone once they add 3G and a full-fledged GPS receiver. Because, really, for $500 WITH A CONTRACT, it should have those things already. I’ll stick with Sprint for now.

  • AJ

    GSM is not the primary technology used within the US, the two larges carriers using GSM are Cingular and T Mobile with a combined scubscriber base of about 82.8 million. Verizon Wireless and Sprint/Nextel the two larges carriers using CDMA have a combined subscriber base of about 112.6 million. For best penetration it would make sensce to sell it on CDMA not GSM. It does however, make sencse to sell it through cingular since the don’t have a music store. Both Verizon and Sprint already have music stores with compeating DRM, they aren’t just going to give up that revenue.

  • rs

    AJ…i agree with you about the market penetration, but apple is planning a launch overseas as well, if i am not mistaken the standard there is GSM. Leaves little in the way of changing chipsets and all that good stuff. nice phone, a bit pricey considering that is with a contract. i’d like to see a CDMA version, but i doubt that will happen any time soon.

  • smo

    Rs:

    Standard may be GSM at the moment, but like in here Finland, 3G has been up for a good time now and we are going to the point where our phones are mainly 3G.

    Internet usage without free WiFi (which is quite uncommon in here, only in main big cities and still hard to find) is just plainly stupid with Edge, 3G offers so much better bandwidth and as a new phone, if you really want to penetrate european market with that, it needs 3G like every other new mid to high cost phones.

  • http://ijonas.wordpress.com Ijonas Kisselbach

    Mr Nokia is a one big sour-puss. He doesn’t understand the difference between “preaching” and manufacturing, or shall I put it: the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.

    I live in the UK and have “enjoyed” 3G for a couple of years. In fact I tried to follow the Apple Keynote on engadget from my 3G Blackberry, hitting refresh on my crippled browser. It was hopeless. 3G does not deliver in UK metropolitan areas.

    Mr. Nokia should recognise when he’s been beat and move on.

  • http://www.slashgear.com Chris Davies

    3G does seem a surprising omission, and it’ll be the data services that suffer. Here in the UK 3G was initially sold as “video call your friends!” but after the first few attempts at it most people have reverted back to voice calls; far more useful has been high-speed mobile data. Ijonas Kisselbach seems to have missed the point slightly, in that Apple have obviously spent a lot of time perfecting their mobile browser only to have it hobbled by EDGE.
    I’m currently using a Nokia N80, Treo 750v and Samsung SGH-Z560, all on different networks and all with some form of 3G data, and there’s no way I’d go back to 2G. In fact having just moved flat I’ve been using them to keep blogging while waiting for the ADSL to catch me up; that’s not something I’d want to try with EDGE!

  • Ashley

    There’s no way I’d buy a non 3G phone now (I am in the UK) and its absence makes a mockery of Apple’s claims for the browser. So I’d be astonished if there wasn’t a 3G iPhone on sale sometime in 2008. But that’s a long time.

    As for the touchscreen UI – everyone has been working on these for ages – but the disadvantages of this input method meant Nokia, SE etc haven’t been brave enough to launch one.

    Personally I think people will get annoyed by this fairly quickly – it will be a real pain for texting.

    So looks nice, but the future of phones? – well until it gets 3G it is still in the past

  • Paul

    The magic of all communication devices is purely content, if 3G is not able to provide it then what is all the fuss. If Apple new Iphone is able to do that I could call it serious competition, not just competition to companies such Nokia.

  • Appled

    Nokia could have killed iphone out of the box if they had put phone capabilities in the N800. How can they be surprised about 2G in the Apple phone? They have NONE in the N800, which is the only thing they have that approaches the other features of the iphone…..

  • davo

    Just got the samsung blackjack with 3g. And San diego has 3g rolled out. Al i can say is 760k down and i will never go back to EDGE. This phone does all and more with orb installed for a third of the price of the apple phone

  • Levi

    Remember that we’re talking about a product that is estimated to be launched in Europe in the fourth quarter of 2007. As I understood Steve Jobs, he wasn’t saying “Hey mr Nokia, we’re launching this phone in Europe in time for the holiday season and we’re not going to improve it by then. Hope that’s enough time for you to come up with something better” I’d guess that they have learned something from back then when they let Microsoft copy their technology. Always keep a card in the sleeve

  • http://www.iphoneapples.blogspot.com apple iphone

    I think it was a excellent move for apple to come out with the apple iPhone. The iPhone has most features consumers have been waiting to have. I also think the price will not deter people from buying the Apple iPhone. I even think they will sell more then the 10 million Apple iPhones they expect to sell within the next year.

  • http://apple-reviews.com/ mat

    Nokia is just as capiable of making something better

  • andersonoscar5

    the iPhone looks amazing, and it probably feels amazing in the palm of your hand, too. It’s sleek, curvy, shiny, and sexy,with on-screen icons and buttons that just ooze and drip class.

    http://www.mp4-converter.net/zune-converter/