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Nokia Unleashes New Lower-Cost Phones in Europe, Plus Bicycle Charger

By Marisa Torrieri, TMCnet Editor

If 2009 was the year of the plumped-up smartphone, 2010 is turning out to be the year of the cost-efficient alternatives.
Nokia (News - Alert) this week unveiled four super-low-cost cell phones in Europe, as well as its first bicycle charger. The four new basic phone models range from 30 euros ($36.90) to 45 euros before operators subsidies and local taxes, according to reports.

The two cheapest models allows for use of two different SIM cards -- helping sharing a phone between family members or friends, Reuters reported.

Nokia introduced also its first bicycle charger, targeting especially consumers with limited access to electricity, and it will go on sale for roughly 15 euros, depending on market, later this year, a company spokesman told news media.

Though it can't hold a candle to Research in Motion (News - Alert) or Motorola in the United States, Nokia controls more than 50 percent of phone sales in India and Africa.
Tens of millions of these products will be sold, but competition is intensifying as Chinese vendors aggressively target the ultra low cost segment," Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight, told Reuters (News - Alert). "With all the focus on its smartphone woes it is easy to forget that Nokia is a power house in entry level products."
Back in the United States, Nokia launched the Nokia E73 Mode, available exclusively to T-Mobile (News - Alert) subscribers, and part of its Eseries business-phone line. The super-svelte number sports a full QWERTY keyboard, runs on T-Mobile's 3G network, and comes with Nokia's "Switch mode" feature. This allows users to switch between fully customizable home screens and keep up with pals' status updates.

Marisa Torrieri is a TMCnet Web editor, covering IP hardware and mobility, including IP phones, smartphones, fixed-mobile convergence and satellite technology. She also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet's gadgets and satellite e-Newsletters. To read more of Marisa's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri