Nokia Edging in on the iPhone?

Last Updated Aug 20, 2007 6:27 PM EDT

nokiae65.jpgCell-phone maker Nokia announced more distribution options today for its enterprise-grade smartphone. Through a deal with Brightpoint and Ingram Micro, IT departments will be able to buy fleets of the Eseries smartphones. In addition to the standard wireless carrier retail venues, individual users can now purchase these devices from Dell.com (a deal that was announced last week), Gateway, and Mobileplanet.com.

The timing of Nokia's two announcements seems designed to steal some of Apple's thunder from the Friday launch of the iPhone. But are the devices even in the same space?

As Information Week's Eric Zeman points out, the Nokia press release is obviously geared towards enterprise users. Emphasizing the phones' business-class device security, ability to handle email attachments, and integration with corporate telephony systems, Nokia's Eseries sounds nothing like the consumer-oriented iPhone.

But tucked in the press release far below the benefits to your company's IT department are features that, considering the timing, sound more like the iPhone.

By also featuring cameras, video capabilities and music players, and giving users access to travel, weather, news, and financial information, Nokia Eseries devices let customers bridge their work and personal lives.
Clearly, the iPhone wasn't created to be an enterprise device. But with Apple touting the messaging capabilities and contact- and calendar-synching (yes, even with Outlook), there could be crossover in certain segments of the potential iPhone audience with the Nokia devices. By promoting the business benefits of its smartphones along with the iPhone-like bells and whistles (and the intangible cool factor that goes along with them), is Nokia trying to get into Apple's kitchen with the prosumer audience?

(Nokia E65 Image Courtesy of Nokia)