As Nokia's long-awaited N75 clamshell
starts hitting AT&T virtual shelves
for sale today (finally
), the cellphone manufacturer appears to be at a U.S. crossroads. The N75, after all, was supposed to go live in Cingular customers' hands late last year. Come to think of it, where are all the Nokia handsets from top U.S. mobile carriers these days? The N75 delay was allegedly due to "operator testing," leading to an interesting point: Kallasvuo states that Nokia has four customers in the U.S. -- the carriers themselves -- and each has exacting customization demands. Sadly, in these parts, carriers have yet to accept their roles as ISPs to which customers bring their own equipment, forcing carriers to cater not to the actual users of their devices (imagine that!) but to the carriers' whims. Is Nokia headed towards direct sales only
in the future? Doubtful, but you never know.