Nokia Takes a Smart Shot

It's good to be good these days. Good Technology, that is. The private maker of a wireless email service that claims to be more agnostic than the popular BlackBerry service from Canada's Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) Tuesday signed a deal with Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) to power a new smartphone.

The deal is a shot across the bow of Research In Motion and should serve notice to investors that the market for smartphones may be a place to start searching for Hidden Gems and Rule Breakers. What's a smartphone? Sort of like the Donny and Marie of geeky toys, smartphones are a little bit phone and a little bit personal digital assistant (PDA). Not likely to fill your soul -- unless you're remarkably shallow -- but worth keeping an eye on if you're a Foolish investor. Industry analyst estimates say the market for wireless data usage alone will eclipse $1 billion this year. That's a double from last year.

No wonder Nokia and others are aiming for Research In Motion. Although technically Nokia claims the lead in the market for "converged devices," as researcher IDC terms it, the BlackBerry is hugely popular and may be gaining share, especially among business users. (Seriously, look around you when you go to lunch to see how many people eating nearby are conducting business with a BlackBerry in hand.)

Any number of competitors could knock the sleek little black device off its perch, not the least of which could be the premium-priced Treo from palmOne (Nasdaq: PLMO  ) . It's no coincidence that the new Treo 650 was released only late last month, just ahead of the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Then, of course, there's competition from Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) , Sony Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERICY  ) , Kyocera (NYSE: KYO  ) , and Samsung.

Indeed, as winter rolls in, this market is just starting to heat up. And that gives Good the potential to be a kingmaker in the fight against Research In Motion. Unfortunately, there's no immediate opportunity to invest in Good, though I might add it to my list of those I wish were public.

Yet sometimes it pays to invest in baskets of stocks participating in hyper-growth markets. Between palmOne and its brethren, plus operating system makers PalmSource, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , and Symbian, you've got a variety of choices. Even Research In Motion is a possibility, although at an estimated forward price-to-earnings ratio of more than 36, it trades for a hefty premium.

Nokia's hookup with Good is about as clear a signal as you'll get in the wireless industry that investing possibilities will soon reveal themselves. You might not want to get caught in a dead spot.

For related Foolishness:

  • Fellow Fool Phil Wohl thinks Research In Motion is definitely in motion.
  • PalmSource's so-so quarter was nothing to call home about.
  • Did you know Oprah added the BlackBerry to her list of favorite things?

What do you think? Can Research In Motionstave off Nokia's advances? Will Nokia establish itself as the king of smartphones? Or will PalmOne's new Treo 650 trump them both? Debate all this and more at theNew Paradigm Investingdiscussion board. Or, if you're really daring, go inside this and other way-out investing ideas by taking a free trial toMotley Fool Rule Breakers, David Gardner's newsletter dedicated to seeking the ultimate growth stock. Only at Fool.com.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is no longer a Nokia customer, though his wife still is. Tim owns no shares in any of the companies mentioned, and you can view his Fool profile and stock holdings here.


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