Nokia: 3G iPhone Will Help Us, Too; Counters With N96

Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) may have stolen yesterday’s headlines with the news it finally supports 3G, but Nokia (NYSE: NOK) SVP Anssi Vanjoki (via Reuters) is sanguine: “Convergence will strengthen through such a significant company such as Apple coming to that field. From the perspective of operator business this is an extremely good issue.”

But analysts disagreed. American Technology Research downgraded the Finnish handset maker from “buy” to “hold,” warning: “Nokia will face increasing competition from new third-generation smart-phone introductions in the second half of 2008 and early 2009. We do not recommend new money until we get a competitive response from Nokia.”

Nokia’s response? Hours before Steve Jobs’ iPhone announcement, Vanjoki said it would release the N96 (an upgrade to the N95 handset that adds DVB-H) and a new line in E-series handsets during the Q3 that is the focus of analyst concerns. The E-series lineup is thought to include the E71 (an E61 upgrade, adding GPS). Nokia shares closed just north of their 52-week low in New York last night.