Science

Apple, Nokia launch new wireless products, but not in Canada

Cellphone makers Apple Inc. and Nokia Corp. both announced new wireless devices and services on Tuesday, but neither company's offerings will be made available in Canada.

Cellphone makers Apple Inc. and Nokia Corp. both announced new wireless devices and services on Tuesday, but neither company's offerings will be made available in Canada.

Apple released a new 16-gigabyte iPhone, which has twice as much memory to store music, videos and photos as the company's previous top-line model. It retails in the United States for $499 US and is expected by industry analysts to be made available soon in other countries where the iPhone is currently on sale, including Britain, France and Germany.

Canadians are still awaiting an official launch of the iPhone by Apple and Rogers Communications Inc., the only major cellphone provider that has a network compatible with the device. Although there are thousands of iPhones in Canada, most of which have been bought in the United States and unlocked to work on Rogers' network, neither Apple nor Rogers will say when the device might be officially released here.

Elizabeth Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Rogers, said there was nothing new to report on the iPhone.

Nokia, the world's largest cellphone maker, also on Tuesday announced the availability of its N-Gage video game download service and its "Share on Ovi" media-sharing site, which replicates the social networking experiences of sites such as Facebook and MySpace on the company's mobile devices.

A spokeswoman for Nokia said none of the company's mobile online offerings, including the previously announced Mosh music download service, are available in Canada.

Nokia primarily makes phones based on the GSM cellular standard, which is used by 80 per cent of the world's providers — including Rogers. Canada's two other main cellphone providers, Bell Canada and Telus, use the competing CDMA standard and do not carry Nokia devices.

Hamilton said Rogers doesn't offer Nokia's services because they are only available on the cellphone maker's N-Series, which Rogers does not carry. She was unable to say why.

Nokia, which owns about 40 per cent of the global handset market, is expanding into offering services over the phones it makes as prices on the devices continue to fall. The company hasn't been as successful in capturing market share in North America, where it trails leader Motorola. Nokia has criticized carriers for maintaining too tight a grip on what applications customers are offered on their handsets.

The Canadian government in November ruled that the country's cellphone market wasn't competitive enough and that providers were indeed holding back new and innovative mobile services. Minister of Industry Jim Prentice enacted rules that will favour the start-up of new cellphone carriers in an auction of wireless airwaves to be held in May.

Canadians will, however, get one new product announced by Apple. In addition to the beefed-up iPhone, the company also released a 32-gigabyte iPod Touch music player, which also has double the memory of the previous version. The 32-GB iPod Touch sells for $519 in Canada, while the 16-GB version retails for $419, down from about $450. With the new versions, Apple has also decreased the price discrepancy between U.S. and Canadian prices to $20 from $50. Apple did not respond to queries about this decrease.

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