Nokia top model N900 sales below 100,000-Gartner

* Nokia declines to comment on number

* Nokia executive says sales well above expectations

* Apple sold well above 10 million iPhones in same period

By Tarmo Virki, European Technology Correspondent

LONDON, May 28 (BestGrowthStock) – Nokia sold less than 100,000
top-of-the-range N900 smartphones in its first five months on
the market, researcher Gartner said, indicating it has yet to
mount a serious challenge to the iPhone and Blackberry.

The chunky computer-like handset — with slide-out keyboard
and a touch screen — has found support among hard-core
technology specialists but failed to attract a wider audience.

A spokesman for Nokia (NOK1V.HE: ), the world’s top cellphone
maker, declined to comment on the sales number, saying the
company was pleased with sales, but an executive was more
bullish.

“Sales have substantially exceeded expectations,” Alberto
Torres, head of Nokia’s solutions business, told the Open Mobile
Summit trade conference in London this week.

Nokia has been unable to mount a serious challenge to Apple
(AAPL.O: ) three years after the iPhone’s launch. Its last hit
smartphone model, the N95, was unveiled in 2006.

The sales of less than 100,000 N900s compares with sales of
8.75 million iPhones in January-March alone.

The N900, which went on sale last November, is Nokia’s first
phone running the Linux Maemo operating system, which analysts
see as a key for Nokia to regain ground in the coming years.

In February this year Nokia unveiled a plan to merge Maemo
with Intel’s (INTC.O: ) Moblin operating system.[ID:nLDE61E0Z2]

Nokia sold 50,000 N900s in the last quarter of 2009, and
quarterly sales fell in January-March, Gartner statistics
showed. Gartner does not track phone sales per model, but as the
N900 is the only phone using Maemo, the statistics for operating
systems show sales for the model.

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(Editing by David Cowell)

Nokia top model N900 sales below 100,000-Gartner