Nokia to open US retail stores, offer high-end phones

Taking a cue from other design-obsessed companies such as Apple and Sony, Nokia has announced plans to open a line of retail locations in the U.S. -- the first ones outside Russia and perhaps Finland that we're aware of -- and even better, will be offering models not available from carriers or traditional channels. The flagship store is set to open in Chicago on June 21, and will sell "virtually anything that could possibly be available in this market," according to a Nokia spokesperson, including such high-end handsets as the recently-launched N93 and N73 3.2 megapixel cameraphones, N91 4GB musicphone, and UMTS-enabled N80 smartphone (which happens to sport a three megapixel CCD as well). PC Mag's article on the upcoming stores, the second of which is scheduled to hit New York before the end of the year, also includes an update on the N91, which will apparently receive a key software upgrade sometime after launch that enables playback of DRM-protected content.

Update: Several readers have very kindly pointed out that Nokia has stores in much of Europe and Asia.