iPhone rival coming this year, says Nokia

Nokia says touchscreen and QWERTY consumer phones are on the roadmap for this year

Nokia says it will have a touchscreen handset to rival the iPhone before the end of the year.

At an event to launch two new E-series business phones this afternoon, Nokia remained coy about the widely-rumoured device, codenamed Tube.

However, Nokia's senior vice president Soren Petersen said consumers wouldn't have to wait long for the handset. "We will have touchscreen devices coming this year, and that's about all I'll say on that one."

Petersen deflected criticism that Nokia has been slow to respond to the iPhone. "We are a big company, we are a platform-based company, which means, annoyingly, we do things very steadily and very solidly," he said.

"I take the criticism, but doing 50 or 60 new products every year, we cover our bases pretty well, " he continued. "We will be selling, next year, half a billion phones. Something for us that sells eight or ten million [Apple's 2008 target figure for the iPhone] wouldn't be that big a splash."

Petersen also said that the company will bring QWERTY keyboards to consumer phones shortly. "Consumers are using more and more QWERTY," he claimed. "More QWERTY devices will be coming. We have work ongoing in other [non-business] parts of the portfolio."

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