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Tuesday, 12 May 2009 21:03

Telstra finally adds Nokia E71 to its Next G range

Months after the “Blackberry-esque” Nokia E71 launched for 2100MHz 3.5G networks, Telstra has finally brought an 850MHz “Next G” capable model to market for its customers – but where’s a Next G capable Nokia E75?

Although Nokia probably won’t like to hear its E71 smartphone described as “Blackberry-like”, the resemblance is undeniable thanks to the familiar “QWERTY” keyboard under a large screen.

Several months ago, Nokia launched its E66 slider phone, while also launching the E71, with Nokia’s E-series of phones designed primarily for business users, as opposed to its N-Series which is Nokia’s flagship multimedia “consumer” focused range.

Nokia’s E-series is quite popular with business users, and with Telstra a massive player in the Australian mobile smartphone market, with the Telstra Business division heavily targeting business users, the delay in getting the E71 on the Next G network is a bit surprising.

Indeed, since the E71’s launch, Nokia has also launched the E75, a candy-bar style phone with a horizontally slide-out QWERTY keyboard with much bigger keys than is available on the E71, although the E75 is not the E71’s successor, but simply another business-focused model in the range.

Telstra is due to release the E75 in the not-too-distant future, but for now, its focus is on letting its customers know a Next G compatible E71 is available to anyone that wants one.

Indeed, the E71 is “the first Nokia with a full QWERTY keyboard available on Telstra’s Next G network”, with Telstra’s Executive Director of Product Management, Ross Fielding, saying the model has been “keenly anticipated.”

Relentlessly pushing the undoubtedly lucrative business angle, Fielding continued, saying: “This remarkably slim smartphone will appeal to business people who demand always-on email, as well as consumers who are increasingly interested in messaging capabilities on the go.”

Fielding’s comments continue on page 2, along with details on Telstra’s pricing plans and specs for the new model. Please read on!

Fielding continued: “Anyone who has tried to tap out an email, or search the mobile web on a handset keypad will understand the value of the Nokia E71’s keyboard – you get much better input precision and speed.
“And with the Nokia E71, business users can access their Outlook calendar or read and edit Word documents on the move.
“Customers will be able to send and receive emails, photos and files at mobile broadband speeds, thanks to a connection to Telstra Next G network and the E71’s 3.6Mbps downlink data capability,” Fielding concluded.
As with other Nokia S60 series phones, access to webmail accounts such as Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and Gmail is effortlessly simple to set up.
Features of the Nokia E71 include:
- 3.2 megapixel camera with auto focus
- Full QWERTY Keyboard
- Text-to-speech message reader
- HSDPA 3.6Mbps, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
- Excellent battery life
- Support Microsoft Exchange for syncing email, contacts and calendars with Microsoft Outlook
- Mobile applications from Microsoft, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint
- Nokia E71 can be used as a USB modem. This functionality can be enabled by downloading the latest software update (just released) when setting up the Nokia PC Suite.

The E71 is now available for an outright purchase price to Telstra Consumer or Business customers at AUD $929, and will also be available on a monthly payment plan for those preferring that option.

Telstra Enterprise & Government customers will be able to get the E71 on a fully subsidised “Enterprise Fleet Plan 80”, or higher, from 26 May.

As always, Telstra is careful to note that while the E71 has a rated 3.6Mbps download speed, “actual customer download speeds will be slower, with typical customer download speeds of 550kbps to 1.5Mbps.”

As an alternative to the Blackberry or similarly QWERTY-equipped Windows Mobile devices, the E71 is a solid and popular perfomer, although if you’ve always found the keys on those phones to be a tad too small, the E75 with its much larger "slide-out" keys (but still with a “small” candy-bar form factor) is also worth investigating, with Telstra expected due to announce upcoming E75 availability sometime “soon”.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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