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Nokia to make laptop, jumping on wireless trend

Mon, 08/24/2009 - 8:10am
Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) – Nokia Corp., the world's largest maker of cell phones, said Monday that it will start making a small, light laptop, similar to ones PC manufacturers are already selling through wireless carriers around the world.

The Finnish company says the Nokia Booklet 3G will run Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software, have a 10-inch screen and weigh 2.8 pounds. That puts it squarely in the "netbook" category pioneered by Taiwanese manufacturers like AsusTek Computer Inc.

Nokia said it would reveal the price and launch date of the PC on Sept. 2. Most netbooks sell for less than $500.

Nokia said its PC would be "satisfying a need" among wireless carriers. AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless have started selling netbooks in their stores, subsidizing the purchase for customers who sign up for wireless broadband plans. Sprint Nextel Corp. has started subsidizing netbooks sold at Best Buy. In Europe, many carriers started selling netbooks last year.

Unlike most netbooks, Nokia's Booklet will have a built-in GPS navigation chip coupled to Nokia's Ovi Maps software and an aluminum cover to contrast with the usual plastic.

Nokia has previously tried to expand its portfolio beyond cell phones, making a "tablet" computer that runs non-Windows software. It hasn't been a mainstream success.

Going further back, PCs were among the wide range of products Nokia made before it became a cell phone powerhouse. It sold off the computer division in 1991.

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