Nokia (NYSE:NOK) said today that it's embracing one hot trend in the mobile phone market while delaying a move toward the other. Nokia plans to release an inexpensive cellular handset aimed at some of the hottest emerging markets, but the company is postponing the launch of another model that will deliver loads of music to users.

The new Nokia 2652 will sell for 100 euros and will be available next month in China, the Middle East, and Africa. The company also sees potential in such markets as Brazil, Russia, and India. Of course there's been tons of buzz about the financial possibilities in such regions; market researchers recently identified China, Russia, and Eastern Europe as the fastest-growing markets for mobile phones, with some data suggesting that Asian countries are responsible for 25% of all mobile phone sales.

In not-so-good news, Nokia announced that it would delay release of its N91 musical cell phone so that it could add software from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) that provides copyright protection for digital files.

Cell phones that play music have been a rising force in the industry lately. Motorola (NASDAQ:MOT) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled the ROKR, a phone that syncs up with iTunes, while Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and RealNetworks (NASDAQ:RNWK) announced a handset that provides streaming radio. Through the SonyEricsson joint venture, Sony (NYSE:SNE) and L.M. Ericsson released a Walkman-branded cell phone not too long ago.

Regardless of conjecture about music on cell phones, the competition is steep, and it will rapidly get steeper. Apple's iPod is still considered the clear leader in portable music, and investors should ask whether consumers will find the need to add music-enabled phones to their gadget lineup when they're still so enamored of the iPod. It seems many music-enabled cell phones aren't quite ready for prime time yet; they have limited capacity for songs relative to dedicated digital music players. (Nokia's N91 will have the capacity to store 3,000 songs, which should allow it to substantially compete with the storage capacity of many iPod models.)

Although Nokia stumbled a while back, it has since regained its shine (including a recent increase in earnings guidance). However, given that its past missteps were caused by problems getting the right products out to consumers, investors may have some reason to be nervous about Nokia's lineup and timing.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.