Nokia Announces Updated N-Gage
By Carlo Longino, Wed Apr 14 14:30:00 GMT 2004

The company launched the N-Gage QD, a follow-up to everyone's favorite device, answering most of the first version's critics.

Straight off the bat, side-talking is gone, and MMC cards are hot-swappable, correcting the two most-derided features of the first N-Gage. The QD also features a much more compact (and much cooler-looking) design, improved battery life and a brighter screen. It's also compatible with all existing N-Gage games, and includes an N-Gage Arena launcher app to make the device and service's interactive elements more easily accessible.

Nokia also left out several features included in the first device, including the dedicated MP3 chip, FM radio and USB connectivity, and also didn't include a camera, which leaked photos had lead many to speculate would be included. But these omissions allow for a really low initial price - EUR99/$99 with a contract, and EUR199/$199 unsubsidized.

On specs and price alone, the QD should be more successful than its predecessor, but one can only wonder how the N-Gage's horrible reputation -- deserved or not -- has harmed its brand. While the price is now more in line with the Game Boy Advance (at least with a subsidy), and the N-Gage offers a lot of features the GBA doesn't, the focus now must be on game publishing, and quickly driving high-quality games in large numbers to the market, something that's not yet happened (and a favorite ranting point of All About N-Gage).

A GSM 900/1800 model for Europe should be out in May, with an 850/1900 Americas model following a month later.