Nokia ditched iPhone-style handset in 2004 – over costs

Nokia made its first iPhone-like smartphone in 2004 but didn’t put it into production, according to a former employee.

Nokia ditched iPhone-style handset in 2004 - over costs

The struggling mobile manufacturer remains the world leader in handsets, but has fallen behind rivals such as Apple in the lucrative smartphone market.

Ari Hakkarainen, a former marketing manager for Nokia, told The New York Times that the firm created a prototype handset that had web-access and a large touchscreen display. Hakkarainen gave a demonstration of the device in 2004, three years before the arrival of the Apple iPhone.

“It was very early days, and no one really knew anything about the touchscreen’s potential,” Hakkarainen told the paper. “And it was an expensive device to produce, so there was more risk involved for Nokia. So management did the usual. They killed it.”

The paper reported that another former employee claimed Nokia had come up with the idea for selling apps through an online service in 2004, but also didn’t follow through, letting Apple gain market share with its App Store.

Nokia hadn’t returned request for comment at the time of publishing.

The firm was expected to release its first device on the new Symbian^3 operating system this month, but the N8 was delayed because of software issues.

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