Updated Tuesday, February 10 - Apologies to readers for a draft post ending up live on the site. The version below is now the correct, finished, version. Because of the publishing problem that hit me yesterday here, I posted this entry on my personal blog first. You may wish to subscribe to that blog as well although it normally has a different focus.
Today, Amazon announced a new Kindle, as the company continues its transformation from a retailer of physical goods to one that is a major digital content (music, books, video) and Internet service (e.g. S3) company.
Why? The N97 will be premium priced and won't be the only handset to feature a touch screen from Nokia, or the new 5th Edition Series 60 Symbian OS. The N97 isn't due to ship until mid-2009 by which time it will face improved competition. The current models that commentators have compared it with in the last week are a red herring. Against mid-2009 rival handsets the N97 will look less strong.
The N97 is important as a part of a bolder overall strategy by Nokia and is not the entire story in itself.
The mid-range will be the new mobile Internet battleground in 2009:
Samsung (especially), LG, SonyEricsson and Motorola are already pressing into Nokia's traditional mid range strength. At some point, Apple will extend the iPhone range with lower priced models as it did in the past with the iPod Mini, Shuffle and Nano. This will open a new front onto Nokia's heartlands. RIM is already targeting consumers with cheap'ish Curve's and consumer-focused marketing.