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NOKIA TRYING TO LIGHTEN BUSINESS TRAVELER'S LOAD;MARKETER JUMPS OUT IN FRONT IN PROMOTING NEW TECHNOLOGY

By Published on .

Picture the weary business traveler, struggling from country to country encumbered by mobile phone, laptop computer, personal organizer and assorted adapters.

Nokia did. The second largest producer of the world's hottest product, the mobile phone, has crammed all that technology into a single phone-like apparatus that started a global rollout in Scandinavia and the U.K. last month under the name Nokia 9000 Communicator.

Weighing barely 1 pound and costing $1,500, the product combines phone, monitor and keyboard with separate function keys for e-mail, fax and the Internet.

FOR SERIOUS TRAVELERS

"It's targeted at people who travel a lot," said Heikki Norta, Nokia's general manager, marketing services, for Europe and Africa. "You can talk on the phone, take notes, turn them into a document, and e-mail or fax it to someone, using the same device, which is pocketable."

Nokia needs a winner. Poor financial results for the first half of 1996 and a sliding share price have put Nokia under pressure to unveil a major product innovation.

However, Mr. Norta is overly optimistic when he reckons Nokia has a 12-month lead over similar products he anticipates from rivals like Apple Computer, Ericsson and Motorola.

"There will be competitors from all angles-PCs, palmtop [computers], phone companies, electronics companies," said Sha-ron Colman, European marketing manager for Hewlett-Packard Co.'s palmtop products. "I think everyone will get into the market."

ENJOYING A GOOD LEAD

But Nokia is already way ahead on marketing. A print campaign using the slogan "Everything. Everywhere" by Nokia's international agency Sek & Grey, Helsinki, is running in pan-European print titles including the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, National Geographic, Newsweek, Time and Wall Street Journal Europe. With an eye on gadget-happy, on-the-road ad executives, Nokia is even buying space in U.K. advertising trade publications.

Motorola announced a similar "revolutionary new communications device" in March at the annual CeBIT technology fair in Hannover, Germany, but has postponed the launch from late 1996 to sometime in 1997, starting with Europe and the Far East.

Through a joint-venture with Nokia to share technology, Hewlett-Packard is already in the market. But HP's $1,200 Omnigo device, launched earlier this year, is positioned as a mobile data cenTravelers

NOKIA from Page I-3

ter for corporate users, building on HP's 43% share of the palmtop computer market worldwide, and HP is doing little advertising.

Nokia's Mr. Norta, a thirty-something European traveler who is the perfect profile of the Nokia 9000 target user, says his curious seatmates on airplanes always want one, too. (Nokia has stands in airport duty-free shops in Ger-many, Scandinavia and the U.K.).

The company is coy about production figures and it's too early to estimate how many mobile phone users may turn to what Nokia calls a "smart phone."

The mobile phone market itself shows no signs of cooling off. Nokia expects 114 million users in 1998 and 190 million in 2004, up from 81 million in 1995. In Western Europe, 28% of the population has a mobile phone and by the year 2004, 83% will have mobile phones.

However, the new smart phones are launching first in Europe and the Far East because the U.S. has not yet decided whether to adopt the global systems for mobile communication, or GSM, technology that is becoming standard in much of the world for cellular phones. The rollout by Nokia-and its rivals-is also hampered by mobile phone networks that aren't yet sophisticated enough to allow Internet and fax connections.

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