Nokia’s new wireless gaming phone thing will shine your shoes, walk your dog, and tuck your children in at night:
- The N-Gage concept introduces a wireless multi-player platform for both local and remote gaming. Courtesy of Bluetooth, players will be able to pitch themselves against someone or a group of people in the room, or in another country, courtesy of GPRS. Meanwhile, games for the N-Gage will be sold separately on game cards (using the MultiMediaCard standard) through major retail outlets, game- specific and video game retail outlets, as well as in regular mobile phone delivery channels in all major markets.
Besides its gaming features, the Nokia N-Gage game deck also offers music playback capabilities of files in MP3 and AAC format, and comes with PC software from Nokia called Audio Manager to let users manage their music collection. In addition comes a stereo FM radio and tri-band GSM 900/1800/1900 mobile phone functionality. Like other Series 60 devices, the N-Gage will also sport an XHTML browser, support for SMS and MMS, an e-mail client and various PIM applications, as well as support for J2ME applications – all presented on the 12-bit TFT color display in a 176 x 208 pixel resolution. [infoSync]
Available in late 2003.
More from USA Today:
- N-Gage will face off against Nintendo’s hugely popular Game Boy Advance system. N-Gage is slightly smaller, and it works as an MP3 music player and radio as well.
”N-Gage will appeal to the kind of person who does not want to carry around a bunch of different devices,” says Chris Charla, production manager for Digital Eclipse, a game developer that specializes in handheld titles.
….Nonetheless, ”we are not positioning our device against Nintendo,” Nokia’s Ilkka Raiskinen says. ”We believe N-Gage is a more high-end device, and that will be reflected in our price.” Nokia did not announce a retail price for N-Gage, though, and service providers such as T-mobile could offer subsidized prices.
Game Boy hasn’t had significant competition in the pocket-size game world in more than five years. It owns 97% of the market and has sold 12 million of its latest Game Boy Advance systems in the USA since 2001. A deluxe new version is due next month for about $100. With popular franchises such as Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda, and an understanding of the video game market based on 20 years’ experience, Nintendo has sold more than 150 million Game Boys worldwide since 1989.
But Nokia hopes to leverage its unique combination — wireless phone and game system — to appeal to the growing appetite for online play. ”We believe this is a new (market) segment,” Nokia’s Kari Tuutti says.
….One problem that has plagued cellphones as game platforms has been the size of the buttons and screen. N-Gage’s buttons are larger than those on standard phones, and the 4,000-color screen is as tall as a Game Boy Advance screen, though only two-thirds as wide. ”They definitely had the gamer in mind,” analyst Richard Doherty of Envisioneering says.