Flagship Nokia smartphone suffers sinking sales

Nokia has sold fewer than 100,000 models of its top-of-the-range N900 smartphones in its first five months on sale, according to research firm Gartner.

Flagship Nokia smartphone suffers sinking sales

The chunky handset with a slide-out keyboard and touchscreen has found support among hard-core technology specialists but failed to attract a wider audience, Gartner believes.

However a bullish Nokia executive said the company was please with the handset’s performance. “Sales have substantially exceeded expectations,” said Alberto Torres, head of Nokia’s solutions business.

Nokia has been unable to mount a serious challenge to Apple in the three years since the iPhone’s launch. Its last hit smartphone model, the N95, was unveiled in 2006.

Sales of fewer than 100,000 N900s compares poorly to sales of 8.75 million iPhones in January-March alone.

The N900, which went on sale last November, is Nokia’s first phone running the Linux Maemo operating system, which analysts see as a key for Nokia to regain ground in the coming years.

In February this year, Nokia unveiled a plan to merge Maemo with Intel’s Moblin operating system.

Nokia sold 50,000 N900s in the last quarter of 2009, and quarterly sales fell in January-March, Gartner statistics showed.

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