Come mid 2008, Nokia will begin to rollout its unlimited music service dubbed “comes with it” to select countries. What is it? Purchase a select high end Nokia phone and it will include unlimited music downloads for 1 year. So far, Nokia has managed to sign up one label, Universal Music Group, and plans to add others. According to Nokia the deal will be profitable for both parties. That’s gotta be one expensive handset given the music label’s recent griping and complaining when it comes to ‘profits’. After one year, Nokia (and participating labels) hopes that users will be hooked on the service and renew – the fee has yet to be determined. Surprisingly, all music downloaded during the first year can be kept beyond the trial end date and played on a PC or Nokia. Of course there’s a much bigger scheme going on here. Nokia will soon launch their Ovi (means door in Finnish) website which will allow users to organize photos, music and more. Apparently, they’ve created some “neural network” that’ll display photos in a 3 dimensional like space and connect those to associated emails, contacts, locations shot, etc. Apparently, we should expect significantly upgraded handsets because the current and standard Nokia interface is beyond antiquated at this point. What’s my take? I’m surprised Nokia didn’t just scoop up Napster or Real, and leverage their already-in-place agreements with the music industry. Apple might be affected by this, but it’ll take years for Nokia to scratch their surface given their market penetration. After all, the ideal consumer (aside from one without any iPod) would be one with an old iPod and looking to upgrade to a handset that’s compatible with both future music services and their past music collection. If they have a small library of AAC encoded music (aka iTunes) they might just opt for the iPhone which will be in gen 2 by mid 2008.
Nokia Won’t Play iPhone’s Tune [Businessweek]