It wasn’t long ago that Nokia was a reluctant guest at China’s TD-SCDMA party, regarding it as a costly distraction to its global GSM-UMTS devices.
Now it has announced its first TD handset, the 6788 smartphone, which it promises will be the first of many.
Underlining China’s importance to the embattled global handset leader, CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo did the honors at an event in Beijing yesterday.
With its smartphone market share down six points in the last quarter, and its China sales off 6.6%, the mainland market is now a crucial battleground for Nokia and its smartphone rivals Apple, Google and RIM.
Nokia’s entry into the market is a major victory for China, and its tireless promotion of the local standard. MIIT chief Li Yizhong yesterday reportedly expressed his thanks for Nokia’s support of TD-SCDMA and praised its “great strategic vision.”
The handset carries TD-SCDMA, GSM and HSDPA chips, but like the iPhone does not support Wi-Fi or China’s WAPI standard. It will be sold through China Mobile from the end of 2009.
Nokia said the Symbian S60-powered Nokia 6788 will be the first of several TD-SCDMA phones the company will produce in the near future.
“Nokia sees TD-SCDMA as being central to the successful evolution of 3G in China, and so is fully committed to this 3G standard,” Kallasvuo said during yesterday's launch.
Nokia said the handset, which may be seen here, was developed from the ground up for the Chinese market and was designed by a Chinese company.