Friday, January 20, 2006

Nokia N91

Time for some Nokia love. The N91 is the only launch model of the new flagship N-series not to have seen release. It's also the most anticipated. It's killer feature is a 4Gb hard-drive, seeing as it's intended market is the rapidly growing musicphone market. And if it launches soon, there isn't anything that can match it for what it does. As you would expect from a Nokia flagship device, it's chock full of features. We're talking 2 mega-pixel camera, which judging by previous attempts, should be of excellent quality. It also lays down WiFi (802.11b & g), FM stereo, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, triband, USB 2.0 with a standard mini USB connector, MP3, AAC, WMA and M4A support, and finally Bluetooth. But by now every phone should have Bluetooth.

Ok, that gets the features out of the way, (and makes it sound very similar to the HTC Muse, below) let's get down to the TRUTH.

The operating system is the now-familiar, and easy to use Symbian series 60. This means the interface will be roughly the same as the 6600, 6630, 7610. 6680, N70 etc, etc, etc.If you know anything about Symbian Series 60, you'll know of the great joys (simplicity, compatibility, wide support) and pitfalls (needs housekeeping, eats the limited memory, very non-transparent file system, Bluetooth Viruses). For most people the Series 60 system will be a boon, but let's hope Nokia implement a few tweaks, and test them thoroughly.

Another gimmick they've dropped in, which I think is great, is the unique design. Nokia have really been sidelined in terms of innovation of late, and it's nice to see they can produce results. The stainless steel is in stark contrast to the toy-like feel of some phones, and hopefully won't be detrimental in terms of weight.The device is astonishingly small for its class, and the best (unique) bit is the slider.
It's not a slider in the traditional sense (like a Samsung D500 say). Instead, the keypad is covered by an 'active slide', which displays a simple but intuitive music keypad. Take a look, it's genius. You can also answer a call without sliding the flip down. This is the kind of design that made Nokia a household name, it's nice to see a return to form. What else? Well a standardised cable means no weird conflicts or £40 cables you can't use with anything else, and the fact theat the phone is recognised by Windows as a USB 2.0 mass-storage device, means anyone with a basic knowledge of Windows can drag and drop their tunes, and support cost is significantly reduced.

Basically, if this comes out when it should, it's gonna be a killer.


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