Nokia's smartphone gets deadpan debut as carriers skip subsidies

Nokia (NOK) is getting its comeuppance.

While pre-orders for the upcoming Apple (AAPL) iPhone 3G S have already sold out, and Research In Motion (RIMM) has announced its new BlackBerry offering, the Tour 9630, Nokia's new N97 smartphone is barely getting any media attention. U.S. sales of this device are likely to be disappointing.

Yet the lack of attention has nothing to do with the product itself. The N97 smartphone is really a mini computer that lets you make phone calls. It is sleek, comes complete with a five megapixel camera, the latest version of the Symbian operating system and an iPhone-like touchscreen that pivots up to reveal a qwerty keyboard.