Rumour Mill: Has Nokia snubbed European operators over Tube/5800 launch date?

The European launch of Nokia's high-profile 5800 XpressMusic handset (more commonly known as the 'Tube') has slipped from Q4 until sometime early next year.

However, the 5800 will be launched in emerging markets such as India, Russia, Asia and the Middle East sometime during Q4. This move by Nokia, which has surprised many European observers, has prompted speculation that the company felt snubbed following the resistance by the major mobile operators to offer Nokia's Comes with Music service.

What seems likely to happen in Europe is that Nokia will launch the 5800 exclusively with Orange in February 2009 given that this operator lacks the iPhone, the Android G1 or the new Blackberry Storm. Nokia has commented that the 5800 will be provided SIM-free for around €250.

The deal that Orange has signed with Nokia has not provided them with an iPhone-killer outside of its home French market. Whilst lauded by many anti-iPhone commentators for its touchscreen interface and focus on mobile music, Nokia has made clear that 2009 will see the launch of a handset better able to compete with Apple's iPhone device.

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