The trend towards enhanced ‘feature phones’ built around messaging and social networking continues with Nokia’s new C-series handsets.
Buoyed by the explosion in social networking services like Facebook and Twitter, and the way that email and instant messaging are now woven into everyday life, mobile phone manufacturers (and the carriers who are their ultimate customers) are ploughing what they hope will be a fertile middle ground between ‘basic’ mobile phones and smartphones.
Following Microsoft’s launch of the Kin
, which updates the Hiptop messaging phone that both defined and predated the social networking mobile, Nokia is attempting to stake out some of the tweens-and-teens turf with its C3 and C6 handsets.
The C6 shares some obvious design DNA with the Nokia N97
Both feature QWERTY keyboards and their designs mimic some of Nokia’s more upmarket models – the candybar C3 looks like a curvy consumer version of the popular E63 and E71, while the C6 slider bears more than a passing resemblance to the N97.
But unlike their smartphone siblings, the C3 and C6 are geared around specific roles of messaging and social networking.
There's no mistaking the‘hot pink’ Nokia C3 for a business phone (or even a bloke’s phone)...
The compact C3 has a 2.4 inch screen which displays social networking updates and other ‘alerts’ on the home screen. The C3 also comes with Nokia’s Ovi Mail and Ovi Chat services, however it can’t download third-party apps from Nokia’s Ovi Store.
The more sophisticated C6 has a 3.2 inch touch screen with live social networking feeds, free Ovi Maps and navigation, a 5.0 megapixel camera and supports Ovi Store apps.
Nokia expects the C3 and C6 phones to land with Australian carriers in Q3.
The big question being pondered by Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung and other vendors promoting social networking phones is: do their hip young and connected target market want one of these funky mobiles, or do they really
want an iPhone?