Nokia Reportedly Is Preparing Its Answer to the iPhone

Company's touch-screen hand-set device may come to market later this year.
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Rumors are flying today that the No. 1 cellular phone company on the planet is also very busy preparing its answer to

Apple's

(AAPL) - Get Report

iPhone.

A Forbes.com report quotes a

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

official saying the company is busy working on just such a product. Supposedly, Nokia's touch-screen handset project is code named "Tube" and should come to market sometime later in the year.

In reality, this is not breaking news.

First of all, every single cell phone manufacturer you can think of is planning, creating, building or busy working on plans for its version of an iPhone killer. Plus, any company worth its weight in salt would wait to release that new phone until Apple releases the rumored iPhone2 -- probably for the device's first anniversary in June.

But, Nokia has already said it will announce its first phone that runs on Symbian's S60 operating system for touch screen devices in the second half of this year.

This OS is not new either. The same software runs Nokia's wireless touch-screen mini notepad computer line -- the newest of which is the model n810 which runs on the soon-to-be rolled-out, forthcoming WiMAX (wide-area, high-speed) wireless network. It was one of the biggest announcements at CTIA in Las Vegas, last week.

So, even though Nokia hasn't officially announced this new device -- we sure do know a lot about it.

We'll just add it to the list of upcoming touch-screen smartphones we're looking forward to trying in the near future, including iPhone2,

Garmin's

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nuvifone (so far, only seen under glass),

Sprint

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/

Samsung

Instinct, the Sansung F480, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1, HTC's next-generation Touch variants, the Skype phone and, of course, the heavily rumored

Google

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Gphone and a whole lot more.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.