Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.

Associated Press, LTW

ESPOO, Finland – Nokia Corp., the world’s largest maker of cell phones, said Monday that it will start making a small, light laptop, similar to ones PC manufacturers are already selling through wireless carriers around the world.

The Finnish company says the will run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows software, have a 10-inch screen and weigh 2.8 pounds. That puts it squarely in the "netbook" category pioneered by Taiwanese manufacturers like AsusTek Computer Inc.

"A growing number of people want the computing power of a PC with the full benefits of mobility," said Kai Oistamo, Nokia’s executive vice president for devices. "We are in the business of connecting people and the Nokia Booklet 3G is a natural evolution for us. Nokia has a long and rich heritage in mobility and with the outstanding battery life, premium design and all day, always on connectivity, we will create something quite compelling. In doing so we will make the personal computer more social, more helpful and more personal."

Nokia said it would reveal the price and launch date of the PC on Sept. 2. Most netbooks sell for less than $500.

Nokia said its PC would be "satisfying a need" among wireless carriers. AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless have started selling netbooks in their stores, subsidizing the purchase for customers who sign up for wireless broadband plans. Sprint Nextel Corp. has started subsidizing netbooks sold at Best Buy. In Europe, many carriers started selling netbooks last year.

Unlike most netbooks, Nokia’s Booklet will have a built-in GPS navigation chip coupled to Nokia’s Ovi Maps software, and an aluminum cover to contrast with the usual plastic.

Nokia has previously tried to expand its portfolio beyond cell phones, making a "tablet" computer that runs non-Windows software. It hasn’t been a mainstream success.

Going further back, PCs were among the wide range of products Nokia made before it became a cell phone powerhouse. It sold off the computer division in 1991.

Other Booklet features include an Intel Atom processor, up to 12 hourts of battery life, and includes high-speed wireless access capabilities.