“The good news about Nokia’s newest touch screen phone is that it has an attractive price tag [unsubsidized cost: 279 euros (US$390)]. The bad news: Customers the U.S. and most of Europe won’t be able to get one this year,” Lionel Laurent reports for Forbes.

MacDailyNews Note: As with other knock-offs, “touch screen” does not equal iPhone’s Multi-Touch™. Gizmodo has a hands-on review of the thing today. It’s here: Gizmodo tests Nokia 5800: Don’t lose that stylus; single-touch screen far less accurate than iPhone.

Laurent continues, “This unexpected twist to the Nokia touch-screen saga left industry-watchers shocked on Thursday, as the Finnish handset-maker revealed that its first ever keypad-free phone would only be released in Asia, the Middle East, Russia and Spain before the end of 2008. Although these markets accounted for more than half of Nokia’s sales in the second quarter, Europe and the U.S. could have contributed a sorely needed boost to end-of-year trading.”

“‘This will be a major setback,’ said Tero Kuittinen, an analyst with Global Crown Capital. ‘Usually, individual models don’t affect share prices, but this is the phone that we’ve been waiting a year for,'” Laurent reports. “Why no worldwide launch? According to a company representative, the issue is one of operator customization.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “JES42” for the heads up.]