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Tech Alert: Nokia Jumps Into Touchscreens

Updated from 6 a.m. EDT

Nokia (NOK - Get Report) has finally embraced the touchscreen movement.

The Finnish phone titan has plans to introduce three devices that feature big touchscreens and so-called Qwerty keypads, according to industry sources, say analysts.

One of the new models to be rolled out over the next 12 months has a 4.2-inch touchscreen and a "hidden slide-out keyboard," and is considered a mobile Internet device or tablet. The device is targeted for introduction in the fourth quarter before Christmas.

The second device is called project Nautilus, and it apparently emphasizes a very slim touchscreen design. A sensor is used to extend or withdraw the keyboard into the phone. The keypad is said to be ultrathin, but when it slides out the Qwerty keys rise for easier typing. The first Nautilus phone isn't due for another year.

And as TheStreet reported Wednesday, the first of the new Nokia smartphones due out next quarter will feature a vibration technology from Immersion (IMMR - Get Report) to help make typing on touchscreens more lifelike. Nokia is expected to introduce three phones with the Immersion technology as early as this fall, according to these sources.

After losing a big chunk of the lucrative smartphone business last year to Research In Motion (RIMM) and Apple (AAPL - Get Report), Nokia seems determined to recapture its old glory through new designs and products. Nokia's worldwide smartphone suffered a 17% drop last year, falling to 40.8% in the fourth quarter from 50.9% in the year-ago period.

Nokia, as we reported Monday, also has plans to enter the red-hot netbook market by partnering with its original design manufacturing partner Foxconn.

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