Some pretty big news out of China recently as Nokia has announced the launch of its Comes With Music service in the world’s second largest consumer market. To be known locally as Yue Sui Xiang and included for free with the purchase of select Nokia handsets (in China’s case, the X6 16GB, X6 32GB, 5230, 5330, 5800w, 6700s, E52 and E72i), the service allows for the downloading of an unlimited amount of à la carte tracks over a period of 12 to 24 months. Even better, all of the music — which includes catalogs from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, EMI Music, Huayi Brothers Media Group, Taihe Rye and more — is DRM-free and allows subscription holders to keep everything they’ve downloaded after their subscription runs out. Hats off to Nokia for giving a pretty censored country a little bit of freedom. Now… When is the this DRM free business coming to the democratic world? We’re pretty tired of stripping away the DRM ourselves. More →
A somewhat tame version of the X6 has been announced by Nokia today and will become available this quarter. The new 16GB X6 has half the memory capacity of the 32GB version, and it’s also missing the Comes With Music feature. If you think you can live with that, the 16GB X6 has an impressive battery life of 11.5 hours talk time and 18 days of standby, 4.5 hours of video playback and 35 hours of music playback. Of course, Nokia doesn’t cut any corners with cameras on its high-end devices, and this one features a 5 megapixel shooter with Carl Zeiss optics and a dual LED flash — pretty much par for the course on Nokia devices these days. The new X6 also has in-phone video editing capabilities and TV out support so you can watch your amateur cinematography on a big screen. No details on pricing, but we’d imagine it to be less than the full-fledged 32GB version. More →
It might seem more like a candy dispensing cell phone toy available at dollar stores everywhere, but the newly announced Nokia 5235 Comes With Music might just be the perfect handset for a music loving touchscreen wannabe on a budget. Essentially the same handset as the 5230, the 5235 Comes With Music lets users download an unlimited amount of music free of charge for the first 12 to 18 months of ownership after which they are given the option of purchasing a subscription to the service or letting the tracks go. The Nokia 5235 Comes With Music will be available in Q1 2010 for 145€ ($214 USD) before any applicable carrier subsidies. Also, GPS is removed. More →
Nokia’s first touchscreen offering to sport a capacitive display has received a mixed welcome from tech enthusiasts. On the one hand, it has a capacitive touchscreen. Yay. On the other hand, it’s a bit thick around the mid-section and, well, some consider it to be ugly as sin. We find ourselves somewhere in the middle — yes, it’s a bit thick and a bit ugly but it’s also a step forward in some respects and it could be a sweet little phone at the right price. The rub: the price is wrong. While Nokia’s pricing always varies from region to region, the X6 32GB was announced at €450 ($640ish USD). In the UK, it’s currently listed for pre-order by Expansys at a whopping £529.99 ($867ish USD) bundled with Comes With Music. Yes, that price is absolutely insane. The good news however, is that Expansys also has a second version of the X6 listed with 16GB of internal storage and no CWM for £344.99 ($565ish USD) — launching in February. That price is still a bit lofty but Nokia handsets are always priced better outside of the UK. In short, there’s hope for those of you interested in the X6 but uninterested in the bloat added by Comes With Music.
Will it be the announcement of a sexy new music phone or two? Is Nokia actually going to kill DRM and make a big deal of it like Apple did? Is “Comes with Music” relaunching as “Really Cool Songs that are Free for a Year with the Purchase of Select Handsets, on Ovi”? Unfortunately it looks like we’re all in wait and see mode for the time being. Nokia slapped the colorful little banner you see above up on its events page last night to generate a bit of buzz surrounding an upcoming event of some kind. Our guess — new handsets, though some might think it would be a bit silly to announce them on the 11th with CTIA kicking off four weeks later. Those people however, should be reminded that CTIA is in the US. ‘Nuff said.
[Via The Nokia Blog]
It’s the same old story, content providers try to prevent piracy by wrapping media in DRM. Hackers crack the DRM. We have seen it with protected WMA, iTunes AAC, DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray and so on. Next to lay claim to the dubious honor of being “crackable” is the DRM that encases tracks downloaded from Nokia Comes with Music service. Nokia Comes with Music allows owners of supported Nokia phones to download an unlimited number of tracks during the first year of service. DRM is the controlling force that limits these tracks to one designated mobile device and one PC. For a mere €20 / £17.50 / $26 USD, an owner of a Nokia Comes with Music phone can use the DRM-removal tool Tunebite to re-encode his or her downloaded music tracks into an unencrypted format in only a matter of minutes. Nokia has not responded nor indicated what measures it will presumably take to prevent future DRM removal.
Oh well! It looks like T3 is the first one to post a brief review of the Nokia Tube. That’s Nokia’s touch screen S60 handset which they are announcing practically now. You know, the one we’ve all known everything there is to know about for something like least a year now? If you absolutely don’t want to check out the press event, you can head on over to T3rizzle to check out their impressions. Nokia apparently wouldn’t let them post any live shots up so they drew a little doodle instead – too funny. Rumor has it there will indeed be a version with US 3G (AT&T) and the unlocked price will be a very affordable $349. Of course this is not a flagship handset by any stretch of the imagination so $350 sounds about right. Maybe Nokia will decide to take the launch site live sometime soon and we can get this over with already.
Last week we told you about a Nokia press event in London on October 2nd that will supposedly announce the Nokia Tube and formally introduce Nokia’s new Comes with Music service. October 2nd has finally arrived and that press event will be streamed live from Nokia’s website starting at 16:30 GMT (12:30 EST). That means you’ve got about two hours to finish up whatever you’re working on and make sure your boss is occupied…
These days, it seems having your own music store or app store is all the rage. Sony Ericsson wants in on the party and is going to release its own music store in just a few weeks. The only problem is SE’s new Play Now Plus (the music store, duh) is only going to be released in Sweden with planned expansion for most of Western Europe in the first quarter of 2009 and the rest of the world during the second quarter. That means we still have time and perhaps other music stores, such as iTunes and Amazon’s new music store for the G1, will take off and give SE a hard time catching up. However, the idea is to compete with Nokia’s all-you-can-eat Comes with Music plan and launches October 17 in Great Britain. We’d say keep an eye out for these services but with the mobile music market saturated as it is, these might just slip under the radar and fade into oblivion.
Thanks, Jon P!
Earlier today we reported that Nokia may be set to release the Tube to the world on October 2nd in London. While announcing and releasing a handset in the same breath is hardly Nokia’s style, its first S60 Touch offering has been delayed enough that our Finnish friends may have gotten fed up. A leak of the first official-looking press photo of the Tube further supports an announcement sooner rather than later. We know the specs, have seen some spy photos, secured a tentative launch date, and now we have a press photo. Not much more left to do other than kick back and wait for this bad boy to get officially outed.
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Word on the street is that everyone’s favorite Finnish handset manufacturer has a big announcement prepared for October 2nd. Rumors are swirling that that company is set to formally introduce the much-anticipated Tube touchscreen device at a special event in London. If true, the event would coincide with the full-scale launch of the company’s Comes With Music distribution system. Nokia is on the record as promising to have the Tube in our eager hands by the end of the year, so an October 2nd announcement followed by a retail release sometime after would make sense. Additionally, obvious competition from all angles make a Nokia touchscreen device announcement in the very near future that much more probably. That being said, we’ve been hearing a variety of things about the tube as of late, most recently referring to an October 8th release that seemed dubious at best given the myriad delays that have afflicted development. Stay tuned, as we’ll no doubt hear more in the coming days.
Music lovers in the UK, Nokia now has a new phone for you. The Nokia 5310 XpressMusic ‘Comes With Music’ edition will be the first handset to feature Nokia’s new “Comes with Music” service. Makes sense, right? The subscription model music service allows phone owners one year of free access to Nokia’s music catalog which includes artists from Sony BMG, EMI, Warner Music, and Universal Music Group. Users can download tracks to one phone and one computer and are able keep the downloaded tracks after their free subscription expires. A “relatively high” download limit has been hinted at and PlaysForSure DRM is expected to hinder your overall music experience. After the trial year has ended, you can purchase new music by renewing your subscription (for a fee of course) or by purchasing on a track by track basis. If you buy a new Comes with Music phone, you can transfer your purchased music to your new phone. One little problem with that scenario is how do you coordinate a 12 month subscription service with an 18 month contract? Hmm. Hopefully that question and more will be answered on October 2 when more information about the Comes With Music service will be released at a Nokia event to be held in London.
Enough of the music service, now back to the phone. Only the music service appears to differentiate the new 5310 Comes With Music edition from the original Nokia 5310 XpressMusic phone. The phone will be sold through Carphone Warehouse who will start taking pre-orders today. Carphone Warehouse has an exclusive UK deal until the end of the year so don’t look for the phone outside of the UK anytime soon.
This morning Nokia announced a major victory in its fight to become a digital music retailer. Warner Music Group, one of the biggest record labels in the industry, has signed on as a content provider for Nokia’s still-unfolding ‘Comes With Music’ offering. We have discussed Comes With Music a few times here on BGR but the concept in a nutshell is that Nokia is building a mobile music service. The mobile music store has already launched in several regions and Comes With Music would grant purchasers of certain handsets a year of all-you-can-eat free music downloads from said store. Nokia has stated that Comes With Music will launch in the second half of this year but the all-knowing interweb has had mixed feelings about the potential of the offering. We think that if Nokia can be a bit more forward-thinking and throw some technology advancements into the mix they could really have a winner on their hands. As it stands now however, we’re not sure we’ve seen enough innovation to really make Nokia’s offering stand out. Playing catch-up just isn’t going to cut it in this day and age so hopefully Nokia has a few surprises waiting for us at the launch.