AT&T’s $99 Nokia E71x — renaissance or last gasp?

That there is a Nokia E71x — the AT&T version of the uber popular QWERTY Nokia handset.

Yup — the E71 is coming to America.

It’s being offered at a hugely attractive $99 (”after mail-in $50 rebate”) on a 2-year contract.

I remember last year standing at a Nokia PR event in San Francisco whilst the Nokia America CEO got up on stage and told everyone he was immensely proud of what they’d achieved that year.

I think you could probably hear my guffaws from behind the camera — as I was filming it — I couldn’t believe I was hearing such rubbish. Convincing a few operators to buy some 2600 series handsets is not, in any way, an ‘achievement’.

Getting AT&T to market the E71 is.

I wonder how America’s Great Unwashed will react. It’s a solid, brilliantly conceived handset — the E71x is a nice shade of sleek black goodness. And if you’ve been after an ‘official’ S60 experience from the US operators, AT&T is ready to deliver.

They’ve filled it full of ‘the AT&T shit’ (as one chap close to both Nokia and AT&T described it), but it’s still a regular piece of joy to use.

Now here’s the crux. Are we going to see a whole host of Nokia E and N series devices appearing on AT&T in the next few months? If so, Nokia’s got a future in the States. Indeed it might well be worth Nokia taking a bath on some of their top rated handsets to get them in the door and get a look-in here in the States.

You can’t escape the Silicon-Valleyness here. Everyone and their dog is focused on the iPhone. Because almost everyone in the Valley either owns an iPhone, a G1 or (almost) a Palm Pre.

Nokia is very much regarded as ‘that European company’ and written off before anyone can say ‘but they’re shipping 10 million phones a day?’

The Silicon Valley behemoth is not at home to Nokia at the moment. That might change when the Ovi store is live and available on 50m handsets by December — AND knocking back 100m app downloads a week. (We can only hope).

The introduction of the E71x is a coup for Nokia. I hope it’s the next-step in a vast upward trend for them. Let’s wait and see.

Meantime I am willing to bet Jeb Brilliant (who was at the Nokia dinner last night) will be heading out to an AT&T store to buy an E71x asap.

Despite being offered a test unit from the team there, Jeb was quite clear, saying:

“No, no — I am going to buy one. I am going to show my support in the best way possible. I’m going to show AT&T that they’ve made a good decision.”

Good on you Jeb.

And should I base myself in the Valley over the next few months (discussions are on-going) I may well do the same.

Original post by admin and software by Elliott Back

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