Launched on 7th October 2003, the Nokia N-Gage is an all-in-one media machine made not only for games, but is also a mobile phone, mp3 player, FM radio, XHTML browser and email communication tool.
Nokia saw an opportunity to enter the video game industry by combining a handheld video game system with their mobile phone technology into one handy unit. N-Gage features a range of quality games available on game cards. It also supports Java games that can be accessed through the system\'s mobile internet browser. Bluetooth wireless technology allows gamers to play head-to-head without the use of cables to connect their systems together.
The system also features a backlit screen with 4096-colour display and a 3.4MB internal memory. Additional memory cards can be purchased for extra storage space (available in 32, 64 and 128MB cards).
While the N-Gage received a large amount of media attention before its release, it was not as popular among gamers as Nokia expected. This was most likely due to its small selection of games when compared to the Nintendo GameBoy Advance (the N-Gage\'s competition in the market) as well as its high cost and the fact that the phone\'s cover must be removed to insert a game.
In May 2004, Nokia released a newer version of the N-Gage, called the N-Gage QD. The QD is smaller, with a stronger, more ergonomic design with more responsive controls and the ability to "hot-swap" games through base of the system, rather than having to take the back off to change games. The enter key has also be separated from the directional pad (no more centre-clicking) and the microphone and speaker parts of the phone have been placed on the front, rather than the side of the system. The QD also has longer battery life and a brighter screen.
This newer N-Gage has been made to focus more on gaming, thus, some of the multimedia extras found in the original N-Gage are not present in this model. The smaller size of the QD prevented the inclusion of an FM radio and MP3 player. Also lost was the system\'s Tri-Band compatibility. Aside from these omissions, the N-Gage QD is still certainly an improvement on the original N-Gage and also costs less (around US$199 compared to US$299 for the original N-Gage).
Platform: Nokia N-Gage.