NEW YORK: Nokia, the world's largest maker of cellphones, has announced the launch of the Nokia Booklet 3G, a mini laptop or netbook weighing just 2.8 pounds (1.3 kilograms.)

The Finnish company, which will announce full details of its new product on September 2,  says the 3G - a full-function pc with high-speed internet access - will run Microsoft's Windows software and will "satisfy a need" among wireless carriers.

Nokia declined to comment on pricing or availability in advance of its media launch, but most netbooks sell for around $500 (£304; €348). 

The move, which follows hard on the heels of Nokia's recent alliance with Microsoft, highlights the increased consumer demand for products that fuse portable computing, telecommunications and music technology.

It also marks a major shift in emphasis at the firm, according to Ranjit Atwal, principal research analyst for the PC industry at Gartner.

"It's not going to be huge compared with Nokia's mobile portfolio, but strategically it's where devices are headed," Atwal said, adding that the key task for Nokia will be how it can differentiate its offering from that of rivals.

Nokia is the world's largest maker of mobile phones, with a 38% share of the total global market. However, it has recorded declines in the average selling price of its handsets over the past six quarters amidst tougher competition from Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's Blackberry.

Although analysts believe it will take time to develop truly differentiated technology products in a market where consumers already have so many choices, Nokia is optimistic about its prospects.

"A growing number of people want the computing power of a personal computer with the full benefits of mobility," Kai Oistamo, Nokia's executive vice president for devices, said in a statement. "We are in the business of connecting people and the Nokia Booklet 3G is a natural evolution for us."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff