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Nokia's 515 T-shirt could read 'My other mobile is a tablet'

Nokia may have made an interesting move this week with its latest 'not quite a smartphone'. Might we start to see more explicit catering for the multi-gadgeted... and perhaps even tariffs to match?

Nokia's 515 featurephone, launched this week, is a welcome new approach to the form factor quandary. That's to say, the process of stuffing a pocket-sized gadget with more and more capabilities, especially visual ones, and ending up with a phablet which can do many things but often sub-optimally. Phablets can be big enough to see what's on the screen and just about small enough to carry about as a mobile device, but for many users they represent the worst of both worlds.

Nokia has posited an alternative around the notion that many users are beginning to think 'two gadgets'. One highly mobile gadget to do a few highly mobile communications things very well; and another large-screened and portable (rather than highly mobile) gadget (a tablet) to do everything else.

Many users - business people especially - probably do this already: a phone for the pocket and a tablet for the bag. But there are few signs of phones being designed explicitly to be tablet companions.

So what would a companion phone offer? It would be priced far enough below a full-featured smartphone to buy a relatively decent tablet with the balance, while sporting enough technology to do the essential on-the-move communications tasks well.

Nokia 515

In other words, it would be an up-market featurephone. Which is exactly where Nokia has positioned its Series 40 OS, Nokia 515. Priced at €115, Nokia's feature phone concentrates on being old-fashioned and easy-to-use with the ultimate haptic feedback of a physical keypad and a solid aluminum case. It has a good 5 megapixel camera and supports HD voice.

Nokia has loaded the 515 with Facebook, Twitter, and Nimbuzz clients. It can have two SIM cards, is 3.5G, and it has a USB connection to a PC or laptop. It's being launched in September, starting with Russia, Germany, Switzerland and Poland. We'll watch its reception with interest.

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