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N-Gage QD - Nokia's Answer To The Critics? 249

Posted by simoniker
from the straight-talking dept.
JayBonci writes "According to CNET News, Nokia is preparing the N-Gage QD for release at the end of June. The redesign is an attempt to address design criticisms; such as 'side-talking' and the need to take out the battery to replace the game. Will this signal new life for the console, or is it too little, too late?" We linked to leaked pictures of the N-Gage follow-up late last week on Slashdot Games, and there's further information at GameSpot, which mentions: "When bundled with a service contract, the QD is expected to sell for $99. Without subsidy from a service provider, the phone will go for $199 (with the platform's Tony Hawk title bundled in at that price)."
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N-Gage QD - Nokia's Answer To The Critics?

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  • QD (Score:5, Funny)

    by Slashdot Hivemind (763065) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:25AM (#8857377)
    Quiet Death

    Not with a bang but a whimper etc etc
    • Re:QD (Score:3, Informative)

      by ozbird (127571)
      Not with a bang but a whimper etc etc

      It's a Nokia, so it may well go off with a bang [abc.net.au].
      • Re:QD (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Turmio (29215) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @05:43AM (#8858184) Homepage
        Oh, come on, stop spreading that FUD. That was proved to be false [cellular-news.com] long time ago. It's not Nokias that explode, it's the crappy 3rd party batteries that do.
        • Re:QD (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dj245 (732906)
          It's not Nokias that explode, it's the crappy 3rd party batteries that do.

          The parent said nothing of exploding batteries, they merely said the nokia platform would fade slowly, not vanish overnight.

          By the way, any lithium battery will explode violently (and by violently I mean lethally) if you manage to short it out internally. Not just crappy 3rd party batteries This is why you are allowed to take only 2 lithium batteries on a plane, but not 3. The easiest way to test this would be to drive a nail

        • Re:QD (Score:4, Interesting)

          by wfberg (24378) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @08:25AM (#8858653)
          It's not Nokias that explode, it's the crappy 3rd party batteries that do.

          Only in Nokia phones though. No reports of aftermarket parts exploding in other brands of phone.

          That's like saying "It's not your Ford that explodes, it's the non-Exxon fuel! If you use Exxon fuel your Ford won't explode.."

          Even if the aftermarket batteries are the "explosives" where does Nokia get off making detonators?
    • Re:QD (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @04:06AM (#8857914)
      :-)

      I'm surprised it even got out the door in the first place. So, of all the people that work for Nokia and had the chance to look at the thing before release, no one was smart enough to figure out that replacing the battery to change the cartridge was a bad idea? Or that side-talking was not comfortable at all?

      Makes for a good textbook example on product failures...

      Also, one of the biggest mistakes of our time: companies focus too much on what consumers say (mostly companies addicted to CRM systems). They should also listen very carefully to people that chose not to buy (the non-consumers).
  • There was almost no interest in the N-Gage due to inflated prices, poor design, demand miscalcualtion (hardly anyone was actually looking to buy such a device), and corny marketing. Removing the idiotic features won't help this late in the game.
    • by Wellmont (737226) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:36AM (#8857435) Homepage
      I've tested the new Nokia models, and was privey to the designs that they went through...although the interface is till "confussing" to quote one tester, their new design is a drastic step over the old design.

      One problem is the fact that they are treading into an area where actual console producers, such as nintendo, would love to smash them in. They could go for another year or two and finally perfect the technology but Nintendo is known for success late in the game, and doing it cheaply.

      Nokia doesn't understand yet that their production and licensing is draining their investments and at the same time Giants who specialize in the field of gaming are looking at similar and alternative investments in the field of Mobile gaming....including microsoft. (keep that on the hush hush)
      • "including microsoft. (keep that on the hush hush)" OK... just between you and me... I won't say a word.
      • Nokia had a horrid design from the beginning and I guarentee that the new one sucks just as bad. They need to put 4X the processor in there at MINIMUM. Crips the GameBoy SP looks like a cray supercomputer compared to the NGage. They need to more than double the memory.. and the LCD just plain sucks.

        In fact it is easier for me to carry a SP + a couple of cart's and my regular nextel cellphone than it was to carry and use the Ngage.

        They can redesign all they want... I know that it will continue to suck in
        • I prefer to carry my Zodiac. Nice, tough aluminum alloy case simply wont't crack.

          Hopefully, the GBA emulator will be released this weekend. In the meantime, we have GB/GBC, NES, SNES, Atari ST, TG-16, C64, Colecovision, Xcade and GameGear/SMS emulators to keep us busy.

          Oh, and video, mp3, web/email via bluetooth and Palm OS stuff also. And of course, games written for the Zodiac that take advantage of the custom video/audio chips.

          I prefer my phone (with bluetooth) as a seperate device too.
      • production and licensing on nokia are draining their investments?

        How can that be when practically anybody can make games for series 60 and sell them on for example handango? however, this could be a reason why some companies don't like the platform, it's too open for anybody to enter the market. with gameboy the companies have privilidge of being the exclusive provider to even the most simplest shit(as it takes money to launch even the smallest title).

        how can you justify the price of 20-30$ for a game som
      • They could go for another year or two and finally perfect the technology but Nintendo is known for success late in the game, and doing it cheaply.

        Yeah, but when you're competing with Nokia, you don't have to worry about price very much. If you keep it under the $500 mark, you're pretty much going to win, even if you're just selling real tacos.
    • by thesaur (681425) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:42AM (#8857679)
      I disagree. Nokia is well known in Europe for their innovations, and they've been targeting young consumers (i.e., pre-teens and teenagers). This revision of the N-Gage may just be the ticket to getting young people to buy it.

      It's amazing how often young people I know get new phones. All it takes is for one kid in the school to get it and think it's cool. Then the hundreds of others will "need" it. That's the way cell phone marketing works over here, and I think it's very compatible with the N-Gage.

      Though you might think otherwise, the main thing young people use the phones for is games and sending SMS's. Calling each other is too expensive. And Nokia is well aware of that fact.

      Another thing is the price factor. If, as has been stated, it retails for $199 without a service contract, it will be available in Europe probably for 1 EUR with a 24-month contract. That's a decent price, and very afordable for the young. I know many who regularly pay 100 EUR to buy phones on ebay. The phones are usually worth about 300 EUR.

      If Nokia is smart (and I think they are), they'll have easy access to this huge market. If not with this revision, with the next.
      • by DarkZero (516460) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @03:51AM (#8857881)
        Just a brief question, since we don't often hear much about the European gaming market:

        Is the N-Gage suffering the same sort of bad press in Europe that it's suffering in the United States? Here in the US, it's been the butt of gaming magazine and website jokes for months, to the point where just mentioning it to any gamer would probably elicit laughter. It's really to the point where the only way they could possibly be less popular is if they sent out a press release announcing that "9 Out of 10 Convicted Child Molesters Agree: The N-Gage Kicks Ass". I'd say that they have a much bigger PR problem to tackle than the Virtual Boy or the 32X ever had.
        • To be honest, I've not been actively reading gaming mags, so I can't say exactly how poorly gamers view the N-Gage.

          However, one German IT site reviewed it in November [golem.de] and gave it a failing grade because it wasn't good at either gaming or a cell phone.

          They also report [golem.de] that a German discount chain [www.lidl.de] sold the N-Gage starting April 1 for 159 EUR, without contract binding. It sounds like Nokia is trying to clear out their stock to make way for the new, cheaper version that has fixed a number of flaws that the
        • by Jace of Fuse! (72042) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @04:58AM (#8858041) Homepage
          I'd say that they have a much bigger PR problem to tackle than the Virtual Boy or the 32X ever had.

          I'd say the Virtual Boy and 32x may even have a better chance of success than the N-Gage. :)

          I speak not only as someone who buys just about anything game related, but also as someone who has many like-minded friends. The major issue that gamers have with the N-Gage isn't the shape, and it isn't the location of the memory card, though both of those issues ARE major turn offs, they ALMOST might could have been overlooked if it weren't for a few other serious factors.

          The first buzzkill was the screen. Tall and Skinny Works for early 80's upright cabinets and that's it. It doesn't work for handhelds, and there's almost nothing you can do to make it work.

          In a day and age were video is making a push for "WIDE SCREEN", doing the total opposite is the kiss of death. Human vision is wider than it is tall, and we've become spoiled by a wide field of vision. For that reason, the screen layout of the N-Gage pretty much prohibits it from having games most people are going to stand playing for very long.

          Next, the button layout is crap. It had all those buttons (in the form of a number pad) and they wasted the chance to do something really innovative by trying to turn the interface into a stylish phone. Only it's not a stylish phone, so they failed that too.

          If the N-Gage actually has a future, it won't be in it's current, or even it's newly announced form. It'll require a MAJOR overhaul.
          • There's a classic n-Gage 'review' [somethingawful.com] at somethingawful, I don't think I'll ever forget this phrase:

            "Nokia has spent millions despite the fact that every sensible indication is that the N-Gage is the biggest piece of shit since a meteor made of shit crashed into the planet Crapulon's capital city of Shitopolis."
          • Tall and Skinny Works for early 80's upright cabinets and that's it.

            And the games most played on mobile phones? 80's style arcade games. When you are waiting for a bus, or idling away a few minutes of break time, you don't want anything more involving.

            Here's a few game types that work better with vertical aspect ratio: vertical scrolling shoot-em-ups, tetris, breakout, bust-a-move, golf, card games, pool, pinball, platform games, any game based on gravity (bomb-jack, lunar lander, gravitar).

            Your comm

            • Your comment about peoples wide FOV is true, but only applicable to FPS and other 3D games. But those sorts of games are not what the mobile phone user typically wants to play.

              I would agree with that entirely if the Gameboy Advance didn't totally poke a hole right through the argument.
              • I would agree with that entirely if the Gameboy Advance didn't totally poke a hole right through the argument.

                GBA isn't a mobile phone, so how does that poke a hole through the argument?

                GBA is widescreen to capitalise on a back catalog of games for older full size consoles, which are easily ported so long as the aspect ratio is similar. And those older console games had their aspect ratio decided by the shape of the TV. It doesn't mean that that aspect ratio is the perfect shape for those games. Inde

                • GBA isn't a mobile phone, so how does that poke a hole through the argument?

                  Simple.

                  The GBA is successful as a game console. The N-Gage is not.

                  I admit the GBA can't exactly be compared to a cell phone since it isn't one, but seeing as how the N-Gage isn't considered a very good phone either, that makes it an all around loser.

                  The GBA does what it's supposed to do really well. The N-Gage doesn't do either of it's tasks very well at all.
          • More ranting about the screen: In the majority of games, the interesting stuff takes place along the horizontal. In FPS, you're both generally standing on a floor/ground of some sort. In sidescrollers (like Sonic, which is one of the N-Gage's core games), you don't usually worry much about what's above you. It's what's in front of you you need to see. This is even worse in Sonic, where you regularly get up to such speeds that the narrow screen gives you roughly one frame to dodge an oncomming enemy. A TV s
      • Nokia is well known in Europe for their innovations,

        They were. Five years ago. Now, like any corporation that grows too big and powerful, they are just corrupt and decadent.

        • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @09:04AM (#8858874) Homepage
          Nokia has been big and powerful for far longer than 5 years. You think they made their first cell phones in a garage in Helsinki or something?

          Nokia is about 140 years old, has been Finland's largest corporation for decades, and started off by making paper. They are probably no more corrupt and decadant now than they were 5 or 10 years ago - they just made a crappy phone, that's all.
    • Am i the only one who really likes the n-gage. The display is crisp and clean, the graphics are great.

      As it has it's own operating system you can install new programs. It has an mp3 player, a radio, real one to watch movies and can play games, far more than any other handheld console. And it's a phone to boot, a perfect reason to carry it around with you at all times.

      Fair enough, the games at the moment are pretty uninspiring but there's some great stuff on the horizon including quite a few n-gage onl
    • There was almost no interest in the N-Gage due to inflated prices...

      What cell phone prices AREN'T artificially inflated? Many providers have a cheap-o phone that they offer as a freebie and then make up for it by gouging on any other phone. I can understand a palm/phone (Kyocera 7135, e.g.) being pricy, but $650? I know for damn sure that the Motorola V60i I used to have (before telling Verizon to go piss up a rope) sure doesn't seem to have $179 worth of 2-year-old technology in it.

      Alltel's freebie
      • What cell phone prices AREN'T artificially inflated?

        Ones sold in Europe. You get virtually all phones free or massively subsidised with a contract.

        • We get the contract discounts over here, too. Unfortunately, that seems to have replaced actual technical support.

          "Verizon Wireless, how can I help you."
          "Hi, I'm having a problem."
          "Well, you're eligble for a phone upgrade"
          "I don't want a phone upgrade."
          "With a new 2-year contract you can save $150 dollars"
          "I don't want to sign another contract. I want you to tell me why the phone doesn't work in my bedroom where it has for the past year."
          "Without a contract, that model will be 200 dollars. You shou
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Certainly not enough to overcome the might and innovation of PSP.

      Is there anything on N-Gage 2 (nee QD) that couldn't have been technically and commercially implemented on the original N-Gage, released around 9 months ago? Nope.

      Did Nokia listen to the critics who pointed out the faults inherent to the original (pre-release) N-Gage. Non, non, non!

      Is N-Gage 2 "revolutionary" or "innovative" in any way? Nein, danke. No aspects to the interface are compelling in any way - there are no shoulder buttons, analo
  • Finally! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by illumen (718958)
    This should go quite well.

    As now there a few decent games for it(and some experienced developers), it's cheapish, and actually usable.

    I just hope it is compatible with the old games.

    Have fun!
    http://www.holepit.com/ [holepit.com]
  • by PretzelBat (770907) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:30AM (#8857405)
    The NGage has "been redesigned for more comfortable use as a cell phone."

    Wait!--they are going to make their cell phone/game system a functional phone? What a great idea.

    Oh--they're also going to make it usable as a gaming device? You don't even have to take out the battery to change games anymore?

    This thing is going to be awesome.

    I bet someone in R&D is getting a big bonus for these ideas.
  • I mean, I'm like totally sidetalkin' [sidetalkin.com], and this bums me out.
  • Convergent products (Score:4, Interesting)

    by theRG (770574) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:38AM (#8857446) Homepage
    I was in Hong Kong for business recently and noticed that everyone (well about 75% of the population) was wearing earphones attached to either cellphones, flash-based MP3 players, or cellphones playing MP3s. I think there really is a huge market for combining things that people want into small packages. Just look at how ubiquitous camera phones are becoming. Hopefully the new N-Gage will be more successful.
    • I think there really is a huge market for combining things that people want into small packages.

      No, that's just Hong Kong. Every once in a while you discover a place that is so immersed in consumer materialism that it makes even Madison Avenue blush. Hong Kong is one of those places.
    • I hate to disagree with you...as what you said just seems to make sense. People want product A, and people want product B...so why not put them both together and get product C? That's sure to win over both camps, right?

      Do you remember the 'all in one fax, scanner, printer, copier, modem' units that were all the rage a couple years ago?

      Do you remember which of those functions it was really good at?

      Probably not. 'Cuz they sucked at all of them.

      Convergence devices have always promised to be a panacea
  • by Delphix (571159) * on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:41AM (#8857455)
    The N-gage was doomed from the beginning. If the system was really that well received, then a minor overhaul might fix it. But smoothing design flaws like having to remove the battery to change the game doesn't fix the core problem.

    The Gameboy. Perhaps problem is the wrong word. The Gameboy is awesome at what it does. It's a handheld video game console. It's not a bastardized cell phone pretending to be something it's not. It does one thing and it does it very very well. It's hard to unseat a product like that.

    The downfall of hybridizing products like this is two fold. You're targeting two different customers. One's who want a badass cellphone and will occasionally buy games. They're not hardcore gamers, they're just looking for diversion from time to time. You're not going to sell massive amounts of carts to them. Then you have the other type of customer: the ones who don't need a cell phone, don't want to change their current cell phone, or can't get a cellphone. Children fall into that latter category. People/Parents aren't going to buy the thing just to play games on and ignore it's functionality as a cellphone.

    There are two ways Nokia could have pulled it off. They could have either hooked up with Nintendo and sold a phone that also played Gameboy Advance games. Thus they'd have a huge library of games, and both audiences are tailored two. Or if they really wanted to compete, they should have created a standalone console that wasn't tied to the cell phone.

    I'm a good example. I've got a Gameboy Advance and it's great. I've also got a Motorola v120 that I love. I'm not going to trade up my favorite cellphone just for another portable. Now, if it played GBA, I'd be tempted. I don't often carry my GBA with me, except on travel, but I always have my cell phone. If it played GBA games they might stand a chance of convincing me. Or if they had badass games, they could probably convince me to buy a stand alone unit. But as it stands, their hybridization model just isn't appealing. And they don't really have any titles that are must haves... That's just not a formula for success.

    Sony may have something though with the PSP though. If they or Nintendo tried to do a hybrid with a cell phone, they'd probably do alright.
    • I tried a few game with this new N-Gage. This new model is really cool, seriously.

      It *still* lacks shoulder button, but it fits so nicely in the hand, way better than GBA or GBA SP. Of course, it still lacks decent games...

      Also, it's smaller than the Nokia 6600, so for a phone it's a good size, compared to the first model.

      In any case I hope to see competition in the handheld gaming market! :)

    • The downfall of hybridizing products like this is two fold....

      For me, it's pretty clear that they're targetting teens, where cell-phones are in vogue and they're playing games too. The major flaw IMHO is the price (which is way out of range from common teenager's pocket) and the design. Games are pretty much priced right (IIRC $30, about the same price as GBA games). If they want to be a bit more aggressive, they can price it a bit lower, like $25 or even less. Now in this news they said they've fixed i

    • There are two ways Nokia could have pulled it off. They could have either hooked up with Nintendo and sold a phone that also played Gameboy Advance games. Thus they'd have a huge library of games, and both audiences are tailored two. Or if they really wanted to compete, they should have created a standalone console that wasn't tied to the cell phone.
      Both not viable alternatives. Nokia pushing Symbian OS. Switch to another OS or make an emulator with limited CPU/memory for niche product is not practical.
      • It should be exchanged for old for free (or with huge rebate), or original owners would feel cheated.

        Original owners are morons for buying it in the first place. They either have way too much expendable income and didn't bother to do their homework before making a purchase of this size, or they are just retarded enough to buy something with so many glaring problems. I think they deserve their fate.

    • I think you're missing the point of the N-Gage.

      Think: handheld game console + cell phone = ? Mobile online gaming of course! Even the demo game shipped with the N-Gage supported that. Of course for now the GPRS charges are killing it, but it the near future, this is going to be huge!
    • Then you have the other type of customer: the ones who don't need a cell phone, don't want to change their current cell phone, or can't get a cellphone. Children fall into that latter category. People/Parents aren't going to buy the thing just to play games on and ignore it's functionality as a cellphone.

      Boy, do we live on different planets... My (mostly european) experience says kids absolutely 'need' a cell phone, change to a new one often and would kill for a cooler devices/phones. I'm not saying this

      • Mostly though they're not on contract (unless they have very rich parents) but pay as you go phones - most children I've seen have older generation phones for this reason... the cost of startup is more than their parents will pay for the 'new' phones. It'll be a while before the Ngage2 is in that bracket - it has to survive 6 months at least before people start selling it cheap off contract, and judging by the reception of the last one (it silently died, basically. I think they sold, umm... two. And one
  • by entropy1980 (622108) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:51AM (#8857490)
    pictures and full press release... http://www.mobileslash.com/content/hardware/nokia- announces-ngage-gd.shtml
  • Hmm. (Score:2, Funny)

    by JanusFury (452699)
    The redesign is an attempt to address design criticisms

    So they taped a gameboy advance to the front? Well, it sounds a little bulky, but it'll probably do the job.
  • by StandardCell (589682) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @01:54AM (#8857505)
    Seriously, what marketing genius decided to launch the original N*Gage with Tomb Raider and seven other mostly older games? Tomb Raider is almost 8 years old now. This is really an irrelevant piece of hardware unless it's up to the task of real 3D gaming with real apps that people want to play on the go - something that has not escaped Nintendo's Game Boy line.
  • MP3/FM Support? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zackeller (653801)
    So they take out two of the few things that made it worth buying. Wouldn't it just be a matter of some easily-coded software to give it mp3 support? The proc is certainly fast enough to run it software.
    • Re:MP3/FM Support? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kris_J (10111) * on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:21AM (#8857608) Journal
      For MP3, just download the Helix player for the S60 [helixcommunity.org].
      • Latest File Releases
        Package Version Date Notes / Monitor Download
        This Project Has Not Released Any Files
        [View All Project Files]

        No files exist to download. I've looked and looked, and all I see is a pretty PR stating that they released something in March. But I can't download it, and I can't find it, so they might as well have released a paper hat for all the use I'm getting out of it.

        What I want is something I can use under Linux that'll produce movie files that RealOne on my N-Gage wil
        • I can help with this bit:

          What I want is something I can use under Linux that'll produce movie files that RealOne on my N-Gage will play.

          Helix. For the S60 player, start here [helixcommunity.org], register if you have to. Once you're logged in the complete set of files includes everything you need to produce files on Linux, MacOS and Windows.

          Syncing I can't help with because I don't properly use any computer-based PIM. Voice Dialing, I haven't gotten around to sorting out, but I'm guessing you need a Bluetooth headset for i

        • I'd also like to be able to sync it to my Palm Calender and Address book
          Is there a market for such an application if priced around 15$ ? If there is, it will be written soon (may be even by me, but I would have to buy a plam). It may be even on sale already, check handango.com (disclamer - I'm not affiliated with handango in any way for now). If there is no at least couple of thousand people ready to pay for it no one will bother with writing it commertially, though somebody could write it for himself and
  • by Borg453b (746808) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:00AM (#8857522) Homepage Journal
    My brother and I saw the thing at Saturn (huge electronic store in hamburg), and it wouldnt let us load any of the games.. think it gave us some kind of out of memory msg. We both laughed at it and left
  • Price (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shakey_Jake33 (670826) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:02AM (#8857532)
    For me, the problem once again comes down to pricepoint. I am well aware that the price is relatively cheap as far as mobile phones go. However, I neither want, nor need, a mobile phone. I would be buying this product strictly as a games console, and from that perspective, the $199 price point suddenly seems unreasonable considering the probably short future of the product. If I'm going to spend such a substancial amount on a handheld, I'd save my money for a PSP, which promises a larger lime-up of games, from more developers, on a product line which is more likely to actually have a future. Or get the cheaper, but trusty GBA. Which is a shame because there are some games that truely interest me on the NGage... I loved the original Pandemonium! to bits, and a handheld Tomb Raider sounds pretty cool also. Ultimately unless you intend to use this as a phone also, it's just not worth the asking price, and that's a pretty sizable chunk of the market Nokia are blocking out (I mean, even if a person does use a cell phone, will they want to be limited to this one?).
    • If you neither want nor need a mobile phone, then the ngage isn't the right device for you. However most people do want/need a mobile phone. Certainly in Europe, less so in the US.
  • by BinaryC (314673) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:08AM (#8857557) Homepage
    This would have been a great product if it was released first, but I have to wonder if anyone will care now -- You only get one chance to make a first impression.
  • by Serious Simon (701084) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:13AM (#8857579)
    They push [ffii.org] for software patents in Europe. Software patents are a threat to innovation.

    I for one will not buy any more Nokia products.

  • N-Gage (QD) value (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:24AM (#8857614)
    Besides of the obvious design flaws, I never quite understood the amount of negative feedback for N-Gage. A Series 60 phone with MP3-player, Bluetooth, Calendar, Java support, FM-radio and some Gaming capabilities for $200 (or even the original $300) was IMHO never that bad a deal.. Considering that Series 60 phones typically retail for about $400-600, the QD (without the major flaws) seems at least an reasonable deal.

    The fact people are almost fanatical with their dislike with the N-Gage has never made sense to me. I guess one problem was that it was marketed as a game console even though it's still primarily a cell phone (with an innovative SideTalking (tm) interface ;)

    I can understand that people prefer the $100 Gameboy as portable console or that they don't wan't hybrid device or that they just don't like the design, but people seem to take "hating the N-Gage" very personally.. Is this just another episode of the "One True Console"-wars, or what?
    • A Series 60 phone with MP3-player, Bluetooth, Calendar, Java support, FM-radio and some Gaming capabilities for $200 (or even the original $300) was IMHO never that bad a deal..

      Yes its a phone, but talking on it not only makes you look silly its also very difficult due to poor placement of the speaker and mic. Yes it plays games but the button layouts are poor and the screen flickers making playing for more than 10 mins painful on the eyes.

      The reason it got such bad press it that it was a very poorly t

  • misunderstandings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by child_of_mercy (168861) <johnboyNO@SPAMthe-riotact.com> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:25AM (#8857619) Homepage
    OK, I think you're all misunderstanding this product.

    It's not a destination, it's a journey.

    The day after tommorrow there won't be phones, mp3 players, games consoles, or even computers as we currently think of them.

    As it is why buy and ipod when your phone is going to have a Gb of storage and an mp3 player next year?

    Interfaces will vary according to function, so you'll still have a keyboard and montior on your desktop, and a pad and a stylus in your palm, and a TV and huge speakers in your home.

    But the storage and processing and comms will all be the one package that you'll carry around everywhere you go.

    Nokia want a piece of that, the N-Gage is a step down that path.

    Their building expertise and experience and making relationships with crucial content developers.

    Microsoft, Intel, and Sony also see themselves as possible players in the space.

    who's going to win?

    My money's on the guys that embrace open standards and open source, simply because all this stuff is going to have to play together really well.

    Anyway Nokia are trying to make the best product they can for now, but even if the next dozen N-Gages are flops have to keep trying to get it right.
  • by otter42 (190544) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:33AM (#8857650) Homepage Journal
    I used to have an N-Gage. Until it broke and then got stolen. (Fortunately in that order.) The platform was actually quite good for what it was, and quite terrible for what it was advertised for.

    From a computing standpoint, the thing was awesome. It ran Java apps, so that meant that within 24 hours of owning one, I had already downloaded a messenger client so I could be on all the IMs 24-7, no matter where I was.

    Then there was the ogg player, the Gameboy emulator, etc. All for free.

    Plus, it could understand Palm Pilot files, so no need to carry around both if all you use in the Palm is the address book. With a 512MB card, it was like carrying around a giant USB key, one that I used both under Linux AND Windows.

    However, this new one looks as if it takes all the funcionality away with it's awkward button layout. It's never been easy to type on a cell phone. With this design, it'll be practically impossible.

    And since I never played any N-Gage games on it, 'cause they were terribly boring and the platform was no good as a game machine, I agree with an earlier poster-- QD= Quiet Death. I won't be buying another one, that's for certain.
    • You'd have been better off with a P800 or P900 (P900 looks cooler). It does all this, costs half as much (on contract anyway) and doesn't look stupid.

      It also has a faster processor. There's a camera too that can shoot movies (although the camera quality is a bit crappy so don't buy one for that).
      • I think the "half as much" stuff is a function of location. IIRC, when I went looking for a new telephone (Dijon, FRANCE) the P900 didn't yet exist and the P800 was around 450Euro, with contract. The N-Gage was 99Euro with contract (which fell to 0Euro, 15 days after the 30-day price guarantee ran out!). Anyway, the gamepad was a really nice feature for playing games, something that the P800 doesn't have.

        The whole reason I bought the phone was because my Philips phone was broken. I wouldn't do it again, bu
  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:39AM (#8857672) Homepage Journal
    Nokia is making a HUGE mistake with the N-Gage. They're trying to muscle in on two markets at once with this. Nintendo is the undisputed heavyweight champion of mobile gaming, and they have been for half of my life. From the time of the original Gameboy no one has been able to unseat them, dispite better products. Sega's Game Gear, Atari's Lynx, NEC's Turbo Express, and the Pocket Neo Geo were all superior to Nintendo's offering of the day; each and every one of them got their asses stomped by Nintendo. This one will be no different.

    They have a large stake in the cell phone market, in a sense they're trying to sell a gaming device to people who just want a cell phone. People who want a cell phone will buy a cell phone, possibly one of Nokia's. Their cell business will eat away potential customers of N-Gage. People who want mobile gaming AND cell phones will buy a Gameboy and a cell phone.

    What they've done is put themselves in a no win situation. They're trying to sell things that people either don't need or don't want.

    Ice and Condoms.

    LK
  • by Inoshiro (71693) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:51AM (#8857706) Homepage
    As someone who quite seriously bought the N-Gage as the cheapest unlocked GSM worldphone I could get, I think I'm in the position to review the changes ;)

    In positives steps, the new N-Gage QD is:
    * A bit smaller (nice of them).
    * Hot-swapable MMC (not a big deal, really).
    * Better battery life (YAY).
    * Separate OK button (double YAY!).
    * The d-pad and buttons seem ok (E3 well tell if they're any good).
    * Auto-run for inserted MMC games (eeh).
    * Vibration/enchanced speaker for games.
    * Quick-game key (handy if they had good games).

    However, there are some significant drawbacks for those who want some of the features of the original phone:
    * It's dual-band (EGSM 900/1800) -- no more 1900 support (the band we use in North America). No more GSM phone use in North America with N-Gage QD.
    * Also no more radio support, which also means no more recording radio (I listen to the radio a lot when I've listened to the MP3s I have too much).
    * And no more MP3 or AAC support (which is the main use for my phone besides a phone).
    * Movies? Nope!

    Essentially, it's a $200 USD Gameboy in North America, since it has none of the features which redeemed the original N-Gage, except the ability to play AAA-quality gaming titles on MMC.

    I don't know how the folks at Nokia can claim that the N-Gage games are AAA-quality titles. I guess most Gameboy games are AAAAAAAAAA-quality titles, because every single one of the games I've tried has sucked so fucking much. But, hey, at least I got a phone/mp3 player/movie phone/mms capable/colour with calendering device out of it. Purchasers of the N-Gage QD won't get that at all.

    I don't think Nokia will be back for a third round, considering they've lost the second round right here. If they'd managed to get any decent titles, it might be a different story, but no one except maybe Nintendo seems to have the ability to float a platform with 1st-party titles. Without really great 3rd-party wooing via buckets of money (MS) or sheer momentum (Sony), there's no way to get into the game market. Sorry, Nokia, but I think we'll just have to agree to disagree.
    • * It's dual-band (EGSM 900/1800) -- no more 1900 support (the band we use in North America). No more GSM phone use in North America with N-Gage QD.

      It actually comes in two versions - one for Europe (GSM 900/1800) and one for North America (GSM 850/1900), which means you'll have dual band support on both continents, which is great. The downside is that it'll no longer work when you're travelling across the pond.

    • I totally agree with you. At 1(one) Euro, mine was great value, even if the games suck.
  • by edxwelch (600979) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @02:54AM (#8857728)
    Nobodys going to use this thing as a mobile unless it's small enough to fit in your pocket. Also, the screen should be oriented horizontaly, not vertically
    • Actually, this thing is tiny! It's smaller and thinner than the original N-Gage, which wasn't too big to begin with. I have no idea where you got the idea the QD is too big?!?
    • Undoubtedly they'll change the screen orientation in the N-Gage 2(Nokia tries to react to user feedback), but this is supposed to be compatible with the games designed for the vertical screen in the original N-Gage. As for the form factor, the pictures seem to make it look a lot more massive that it is. Reading from the specs the QD looks quite small, definitely small enough to fit in your pocket.
  • One small thing.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superhoe (736800) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @03:15AM (#8857786) Homepage
    A device which you can use to call + receive phone calls, play games (emulator as well, from gameboy to C64 and MAME), use calendar, browse net, email, listen to radio, mp3 and do pretty much anything else by installing loads of nice s60 software. F.ex. Teletext application is my big favourite.

    Is even $200 (if it's even that much) really expensive for all that? For me, it is definitely not. I'm unaffiliated with Nokia; I just like this particular device because it's very useful and cheap phone which allows me to do everything I wish and lots more.

  • Finally! (Score:4, Funny)

    by ooPo (29908) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @03:38AM (#8857851) Homepage
    Now we can get to complaining about the real meat of the Ngage: Boy do those games SUCK!
  • by Dynamoo (527749) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @04:17AM (#8857946) Homepage
    Rumors about an N-Gage 2 have been doing the rounds for a while. This isn't the N-Gage 2 - it's a stripped down version of the original with a couple of enhancements, and I guess this is actually a good thing.

    But.. they've taken out MP3 support, the radio and still haven't added a digital camera. The display is a little small by current standards too.

    My guess is that the "N-Gage 2" will be announced in a few months time with another model name (what the heck does QD stand for anyway) and will have more features, and maybe a better screen.

    Doing it this way means that they should still be able to shift the original N-Gages still in the supply chain, then they can announce the "N-Gage 2" later.

    There's a useful independent writeup of the N-Gage 2 here [mobilegazette.com].

  • This will sell well (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jarnis (266190) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @04:33AM (#8857986)
    This will be a hit. I know first N-Cage was a dog, but look;

    - It no longer looks stupid
    - You can hotswap cards (upto 256MB MMC cards)
    - Its a *full series60 phone for 199$ with upto 256MB memory for apps/MP3s*. Web browsing, email, downloadable Symbian apps...

    While the screen is still small, considering that you previously had to pay 400$+ for these features I think its a great deal. Lack of triband sucks for US guys, but I honestly could not care less.

    I was already 'sold' on the first one as a cheap phone with good feature set, but the 'sidetalking' issue killed it for me personally and I skipped it when it became obivious that an improved version was coming. It just looked stupid and I didn't feel like using a HandsFree-kit. Nokia fixed the major issues, is selling it cheaply considering the feature set as a *phone*, and as a bonus it has some promising titles incoming. Those buying it as a 'gaming machine' first may be disappointed. I'm looking at a phone that has some added features, and as such I'm happy with what I see.

    Or could someone else point out a comparable phone for 199$? If we ignore triband, what other phone at that price offers all the non-game features that N-Cage QD has? Please enlighten me!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The N-Gage QD appears to offer nothing at all over the original N-Gage, apart from two things: the C key is with the rest of the keypad (if you make a mistake when typing an SMS, you have to go right over to the other end of the phone), and the MMC slot is accessible. Everything else makes it just look crap.

    Over here in the UK, the N-Gage sells for UKP100 on a pay-as-you-go connection. That's under half the price of the 6600, which has fewer features than the N-Gage (no MP3, no radio, etc). Knock it all
  • Official site (Score:4, Informative)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @05:24AM (#8858122)

    Nokia's Official site is here [n-gage.com]

  • is here [nokia.com]
  • by Effugas (2378) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @07:38AM (#8858464) Homepage
    Yes, the nGage itself is a steaming pile of crap -- and everyone knew it, from the moment we excitedly tried it at GDC last year. And we all know the games for nGage suck -- Nokia, memo from 1987, sprite acceleration makes Puzzle Bobble play at speeds higher than 7fps. But what's not well realized is that, for all of the Gameboy Advance's massive library, the vast majority of the content is Atari-market-crash level crap, and most of the remainder is unplayable by anyone over the age of 14.

    Don't believe me? I swear on everything that is true in this world that the following was excitedly exclaimed from a Fry's in Campbell, CA, just a scant few months ago:

    "Mommy! Mommy! It's American Idol for the Gameboy Advance!"

    The kid was ten. The game was not purchased.

    Don't get me wrong. I own a GBA. Hell, it's my second one, since I lost my first one. There's a good dozen games on the system that are actually playable -- the Castlevanias, the Metroids, some of the work coming out of Squaresoft. But even if the hardware is the spiritual successor of the SNES, the software selection is embarassing, bordering on mortifying.

    And Nokia knows all this -- they know there's a pent up demand for gaming that scales to people who don't need to beg for a candy bar. Sony knows this -- and could actually destroy Nintendo on a whim, simply by releasing a handheld Playstation 1 (and re-releasing
    a small chunk of the old library on new media). But everyone seems to be skipping a generation of failed machines (the "Don't Be Sega" effect?) and trying, better or worse, to do portable, multiplayer 3D gaming right.

    And if you don't think MS is in this game, you're not paying attention to those "portable video players" with DRM support and space for a gamepad.

    There's alot at stake here. I'm frankly surprised to still see Nokia still involved -- if nGage was any worse, the FCC probably would have refused to certify it on principal -- but you can't fault their recognition of the potential size of this market. Nintendo may have owned this space since the 80's -- but they've gone from the company that returned quality to video games ("Nintendo Seal of Quality" meant something) to ... well, one that adds another screen.

    Yay.

    --Dan
  • by redune45 (194113) <slashdot@r[ ]ne.com ['edu' in gap]> on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @09:50AM (#8859184) Homepage
    Found this article [gamespy.com] at GameSpy.
    Has a lot of cool pictures of the the N-Gage as well as a hands on preview.
    It almost makes me want one of these things (Never had any desire for that old ugly thing)
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Wednesday April 14, 2004 @11:05AM (#8859902) Homepage Journal
    While many here are counting Nokia out, they actually have a good chance of success. First, by coming out with a redesigned console so quickly, they show that they are serious about making it in the gaming market. This is not good news for Nintendo or Sony at all.

    It is no surprise either that the redesign came out so fast. Nokia makes cel phones! Cel phone designs and features seem to change on almost a weekly basis. So it is likely that Nokia is accustomed to working on short design and manufacturing cycles. Indeed, this may be why they felt they could release the first N-Gage with all of the design errors. Again, this is not good news for Sony or Nintendo who are accustomed to longer cycles.

    In the end, it will be the games that decide who makes real money in the portable space. If Nokia gets traction, we'll see a real fight. I would guess that Nintendo is most at risk because they haven't had a real fight in the portable space in yea...like ever. Sony I think will recognize the threat and use their muscle and money to get exclusives for the PSP early. But the PSP had better not be too late to market, or they'll be looking at the 3rd or 4th iteration of N-Gage by then. Finally, one wildcard here is Microsoft. MS has said they're not interested in the portable market. That said, MS makes the best development tools in the business, if it suddenly becomes easy to develop for Nokia using Visual Studio .Net (which it is not right now) and XNA suddenly is part of the mix, then things could get interesting.

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