Another handset maker takes another step into the mobile content space: Nokia on Wednesday will be formally announcing its online music service seen as a rival to iTunes, along with a new music phone — the N81. As expected, the music service will be based on the vendor’s acquisition of Loudeye last year, and will let users sideload music onto handsets. (Loudeye currently has some 1.6 million tracks in its database compared to Apple’s 5 million.)
The launches come amid a rush of other content announcements from Nokia — including the resuscitation of its N-Gage mobile gaming service and the premiere of its content sharing site Mosh. The FT writes Nokia is likely to announce further online ventures: after all, it needs to fill out its newly created multimedia division, which was in June named one of its three core businesses alongside handsets and enterprise services.
Nokia is not the only handset maker to be pushing the boat out on content: Sony Ericsson has its M-Buzz music service and Motorola has effectively assumed the role of a record label to offer music in China. The assumption is that all operators should be threatened by such moves — witness the stories about Orange spatting with Nokia over the new music service — but the FT article points out that the terms Apple has reportedly struck with operators over iPhone revenue shares shows those battle lines are shifting. “Nokia said it had had