Nokia Gets the Hiccups with 5800 U.S. Launch

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Nokia is having problems with launch of the North America model of the 5800 handset. Nokia USA this weekend stopped selling the American version of the 5800 in its two flagship stores in New York and Chicago, just a few days after the U.S. introduction on February 26. Nokia is now selling the European version of 5800 as a replacement.

Two major problems plagued the North American model of the Nokia 5800. The first is in the form of the phone's earpiece speakers, which are reportedly not properly protected against moisture; and the second is the phone's inability to find AT&T 3G network, which led to many customers returning the phone.

Nokia confirmed this weekend that many of the 5800 handsets delivered worldwide before January 2009 have a problem with the phone's earpiece, which wasn't properly protected from moisture ingestions. The company said that all the faulty earpieces have now been replaced with units produced by a different manufacturer. Nokia 5800 handsets bought after January 2009 should not experience this problem.

U.S. customers who bought a European version of the 5800 late last year and think they might be affected by the earpiece issue should contact a Nokia authorized service center. Meanwhile, back in the UK, some wireless carriers like Vodafone are waiting for a new batch of 5800s. Vodafone did not confirm whether the delay in selling more 5800 handsets is due to performing sales or the reported earpiece problem.

The second problem plaguing the North American version of the 5800 appeared just hours after the phone's launch late last week, when customers started returning the phone, claiming it cannot connect to AT&T's 3G network. Users reported that they were able to get AT&T GSM and EDGE signals, but a 3G signal could not be acquired. Nokia has not responded officially over this 3G connectivity problem, but the company's two flagship stores are now selling the European version of the 5800 instead.

Nokia started shipping the 5800 model around the world in October 2008 and in January 2009 the company announced that it already sold one million handsets. For a more in-depth look at the Nokia 5800, make sure check out my hands-on overview.

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