Nokia has produced a new series of phones specifically for business users.

"The E-series is the first set of products specifically designed to meet business users' needs yet meet the stringent requirements of the IT professionals that are called upon to make sure these solutions work," said Mary McDowell, Nokia general manager.

The new E60 looks very similar to RIM's Blackberry's creator. The E61 and the E70 are similar to existing Nokia handsets. All three include 802.11g wireless.

The new models set Nokia apart from some of its handset-maker competitors, said Tony Cripps, Ovum wireless software analyst. "Nokia can claim to have a true Blackberry alternative," he said. The move is significant because Nokia is now offering an end-to-end product that includes the new phones, a recently introduced push e-mail software platform, security and the Series 60 handset software. By contrast, some of Nokia's handset competitors are only delivering pieces of that platform, Cripps noted. RIM has long offered a similar end-to-end package.

One key difference compared to Blackberry is Wi-Fi. Nokia expects the devicesto be used onsite to make and receive voice-over-Wi-Fi calls that are integrated with a company's IP-PBX phone exchange. Users can have one business number that reaches them via a wide area cellular network as well as via voice-over-Wi-Fi while on the company's property.

The phones are based on Symbian 9.1, the latest Symbian OS and are built on Nokia's Series 60 software platform. The phones also support a long list of e-mail clients including Blackberry, Seven Mobile Mail and Visto, in addition to Nokia's own Nokia Business Center software.