So London saw the launch of the Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic yesterday during the Nokia Remix Event together with Nokia's Comes with Music service, which debuts in Britain on the 16th of October and allows users to download unlimited amount of music on their cellphones and designated computer for one year.
Nokia has enrolled the help of Warner Music Group, Sony BMG Music, Universal Music and EMI Group and will be offering millions of songs with the artists actually getting a cut of revenues on each mobile sold rather than a pay-per-session model.
What Nokia is betting on is that users will have to buy new phones from the Finnish manufacturer every year in order to get access to more songs, which looks to be a good bargain, for both sides.
Nokia handset users would get new phones every year with free songs while Nokia would keep its existing users and add new ones over time; they may have to transfer their existing songs to their new phone if needed but by then, bigger capacity memory cards will be common.
Otherwise, the punters will be stuck with a list of songs that they can't update and on top of that, the plan means that Nokia phones should, in principle, remain the main cell phone as long as Comes With Music is active.
In addition, the 5800 comes with a big 3.2-inch screen capable of displaying 640x360 pixels and comes with QIK video technology built in; Yes! unlike the iPhone, the 5800 can record videos thanks to a superior 3.2 megapixel camera.
Then there's the fact that unlike the iPhone, it does MMS, offers four ways of entering text and it has a replaceable batter.
The 5800 will be powered by Symbian's new S60 Taco 5.0 operating system plus it is equipped with an accelerometer and support for up to 32GB microSD card.
The handset will sell for around USD 400 (Eur 279) without network subsidies and should replace the existing 5310 Xpressmusic models on all monthly contracts although interestingly, PCPro quotes £129.95 for the price of the phone and a launch date on the 16th of October.
However, SFGate reports that Nokia does not plan to sell Comes With Music phones with any carriers (ed: This is only for US-based users I presume), which means that you will have to buy the phones direct from Nokia (on a PAYG or unsubsidised).
So what's next... The phone has been in gestation for over a year now and Nokia will be keen to monitor feedback and criticisms for the next version of the 5800 including possible support for multitouch and (why not?) a Gaming platform.
Unlike Apple, Nokia is not focused on one phone only (and a rather strict schedule) and whatever the manufacturer will learn from the 5800 is sure to trickle down to other phones within the Nokia range.
Also, Nokia will almost certainly dedicate more resources to OVI and turn it into a true contender against the likes of Apple's App Store and Google Marketplace.
Why not read our pre-announcement "5 reasons why Nokia's Tube Xpress 5800 Smartphone Won't Make Android Or Apple's iPhone Shiver" article?