If Nokia Launches an iClone, and Nobody Notices, Does it Truly Exist?

Reader Reptile writes in with the tip, and the pithy title inspiration. Seems like our friends to the frozen north (no, not Canada, Nokia-land!) finally released their iClone... er... Tube... er... Xpress Music.

The device, which started life as a complete rip-off proof of concept roughly 3 minutes after Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone live on the Macworld 2007 stage has taken a long -- looooooooong -- time to come to market. Was it worth the wait?

Well, in targeting the iPhone, it's already placed itself squarely in the "follower" camp, and not the "leader" position Nokia should not only enjoy, but command. Strike one. Also, if as Reptile suggests, no one (outside the gadget blogsphere and -- maybe -- Europe) noticed, can it even really be considered launched? Strike two.

As long as there's the iPhone, every other "me too!" device will be an iClone, simple as that. Want a real iPhone Killer? Do what Apple did and drop a device no one sees coming, and revolutionize the industry in your own, innovative way. That's how you'll kill the iPhone.

Absent that. Strike three.

Video link via Engadget

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

If Nokia Launches an iClone, and Nobody Notices, Does it Truly Exist?


hahaha when will nokia realize its not about copying, its about innovation, come up with your own ideas nokia, same goes for you google.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! And seeing that every other company is trying to imitate the iPhone, they too must feel it is the best.

Actually, being a fast follower is not a bad strategy - as long as you learn from the innovator's mistakes. The innovator preps the market and you then swoop in with better / cheaper. In many way's that's been Microsoft's strategy and they've done quite well with it.

Rene, nice find with the video. Puts the whole release into better context. My sense is that this will be one of many credible devices from Nokia. They have the manufacturing down. They have good hardware, especially the camera from the N95/N96. Maps, check and no need for help from Google either. And 8 GB memory is a lot better than some other devices are marketing right now.
On the down side, they must be using the same haptic screen vendor that RIM is using - did anyone else notice the need to double touch menu options? Not good. Also, the navigation looks like it takes way too much time.
Nokia will be around because they can afford to be. Being number 1 has its advantages. But at some point they're going to have to go head to head with the iPhone and my sense is that they'll need to have a nice follow up device to make it a fight.

I've seen this video linked in other places and read comments about how bad it looked, but I didn't actually watch the video until now. Wow, that looks really bad. As Jim C above states, being a follower is fine if you improve upon what you're copying; Apple has done it before. But man, that interface is horrible and unresponsive. Maybe it's the user's fault for not knowing how hard he has to press the screen, but it almost looks like he's playing a guessing game! And then the pathetic load times/rotation times for the photo viewer... geez. This is the final hardware/software (for launch)?

The Nokia, like so many others, lack the polish of the iPhone. Nice try, but no cigar.

I'm an english guy here in Singapore and to be honest, everyone is talking about Nokia comes with music, more than the tube.
As for it, well My iphone is the shit and Nokia is miles away from an apps store... or for that matter, anything close. But i do think its quite interesting. I'd love to be able to record video's doing the work I do as well as have a better camera than my iphone's attempt at one.
Not selling my iphone until I see a higher convergence device from Nokia. That i imagine is only around the corner. The N85 as a touchscreen and bye bye iphone!

While there using S60, Nokia will never have a genuine competitor to the iPhone. It's about ease of use, and S60 ain't got that!

You can't in good-conscience call that a knock-off - it's too cheezy.
It has a touch-screen, that's it.
Besides, I can't take any product seriously that is shown using a 70's porn soundtrack :)

wow that will be the next iphone killer for sure! NOT> it has to turn black to switch to landscape mode while on the internet ha ha ha ha.

Hey guys, nokia mentioned at the first place that this phone is not their answer to iPhone. so why bother?
I also find it, some ppl are very reluctant to accept good things if it is not iPhone. The true 'iphone clone' will be released in few months.
wait...does iphone's safari supports flash?

I own an iPhone 3G, a good data plan, and >40 apps. It's a wonderful device with unparalleled graphical and physical user interfaces, a slick store for apps and music, and a good (if lately somewhat disgruntled) developer following.
I think that the Nokia 8500 (the phone shown, above) is a good step forward for Nokia. New smartphones don't have to be equivalent to the iPhone to be good devices. If they were carbon copies then you would complain that the companies aren't innovating and are just copying verbatim in hopes of stealing sales from Apple.
If you watch some of the other Nokia 5800 videos that are available then you'll see that it does, indeed, have some very nice features (that aren't present on the iPhone):
-video recording and editing (merge videos, add text, add soundracks, upload, sync media with Ovi, etc.)
-web feeds attached to contacts (eg. for those w/ RSS feeds)
-3.2 MP camera
-dual LED flash
-microSD slot
-fingertip, fingernail or stylus input
-handwriting recognition
-platform-independent software development
The "Comes With Music" version is supposed to follow a few months after the initial release of the 5800.
Personally, I'm looking forward to checking out this device and future Nokia phones. I greatly enjoy and will continue to enjoy my iPhone 3G, but I'm not going to blindly dismiss the rest of the forest because I think I've already found the best, most interesting or most important tree.

yea baby, great news. Finally some competion. This will push apple to improve. Yes. Give us copy/paste or I'll switch to nokia and have a full year of music for free. That's a deal. Maybe I'll buy one just for that. And it looks nice. I didn't like the gphone but this Nokia is a competitor. If apple had good software I woldnt even think on switching. But an incentive such as free music for a whole year. Now that's a phone. Better display?Flash player? Wmv, avi player?Helll yea. Good for you nokia.

It cracks me up. I know this is an iphone site but I am guessing most of these comments are from people who have never used symbian s60. Sure it isn't the perfect OS on a phone but neither is the iphone. I have both a N95 and a iphone 3g and i love them both. There are plenty of great things the N95 can do that the Iphone will never be able to do because of Apple, but at the same time the iphone just does a lot of things better such as email and safari. Until Apple has a Slingbox client, GPS turn by turn navigation I will be keeping both phones.

Guys, how do you manage to live with a phone that cannot share in bluetooth or forward messages or can't tune FM or can't record video?