Nokia reveals touchscreen 'Tube' phone

Nokia has given the Tube its official name

Nokia has finally given its much-anticipated touchscreen Tube handset its first public airing and it's likely that it will appeal to some business users as well as hip and funky youngsters.

Nokia announced the device and gave it the new moniker of 5800 XpressMusic to a fanfare of excitement at Camden's Koko nightclub, with the help of Black Eyed Pea and musical entertainment from bands Keane and Ida Maria.

"I rode the tube to get here but I have a Tube in my pocket [too]. I guess it's now time to announce to the world the device formerly known as Tube," said Jo Harlow vice president at Nokia.

"We made sure you can browse the whole web and not just pieces of it by supporting Flash content," she added, in a thinly veiled jibe at the iPhone's omission in this area.

The 5800 XpressMusic runs the Symbian S60 operating system and features a drop down-menu-based Media Bar and a Contacts Bar, giving you one touch access to your interaction with four of your chosen favourite contacts. It also boasts a 3.2 inch colour touch screen with some 16 million colours and the ability to input text using a finger, stylus or plectrum that comes bundled with the handset.

It won't be shipping until the first quarter of 2009, but when it arrives it will be available on a variety of networks, in addition to tempting users with GPS, quality built-in speakers, a 3.5mm headphone jack and support for up to 16GB of storage.

Harlow added: "We wanted to stay true to our mission of connecting people. We wanted to change that user interface into a human interface... simply by putting people first," she added, alluding to the phone's array of capabilities.

While the device is targeted mainly at music fans, the fact it will cost just 279 (218) unsubsidised and comes with support for Exchange, video and other features, means it is likely to also appeal to those who want a stylish device they can also use for occasional business reasons too, Harlow said during an interview with IT PRO following the main presentation.

And, Nokia teased consumers and business users alike, by saying that this was the first of many such devices to come from the company.

"This is just the beginning," said Harlow.

The 5800 XpressMusic will come bundled with Nokia's recently announced Comes With Music service, which will give users a one year free-for-all access of the Nokia Music Store catalogue.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.