Nokia will unveil its first touch-screen phone next week in a direct challenge to Apple’s successful iPhone, two industry sources told Reuters on Friday. LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics and several smaller handset vendors have rolled out their own touch-screen phones over the last two years, while the first handset using Google’s Android platform will also have a touch screen.
But so far, the world’s top cellphone maker, Nokia, has stuck with traditional screens. Both sources said Nokia would unveil its new phone — code-named “Tube” — on October 2 at an analyst and media event in London. A Nokia spokeswoman declined to comment.
“The phone is extremely important,” said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi. “We have been waiting for the market leader to respond to Apple’s iPhone for a year and a half now. There is a lot of pressure on Nokia.”
Nokia shares hit 13.21 euros on Friday, down 50 percent from the start of the year in part because of the slow introduction of touch-screen models. Milanesi said that the Finnish firm had a history of coming late to the market with innovations, and succeeding anyway.