N-Gage Gaming Cell Phone Debuting Next Week

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Nokia is preparing to launch its combination portable game player and mobile phone worldwide early next month.

Nokia N-Gage The N-Gage will allow online, mobile, multiplayer game play. People will also be able to compete against other N-Gage users in the same room via Bluetooth. Games that will be available at launch include Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Tomb Raider, and many more. These will be distributed on MMC cards.

Games will play on the device’s 176 by 208 pixel screen, which offers 12-bit color.

In addition to gaming, is also offers a digital music player (MP3/AAC), stereo FM radio, as well as a tri-band GSM 900/1800/1900 mobile phone. It does not offer Web access.

The device will be 5.25 by 2.75 by .8 inches and weigh 4.8 ounces. It will run the Symbian OS.

T-Mobile is the only company who has signed up to offer the N-Gage in the U.S. It will be available October 7 for $300 at Target, Electronics Boutique, Game Stop, and Circuit City, as well as online.

T-Mobile is offering 30 days of free wireless game play and a combined total of $50 worth of free voice and text messaging. After the 30-day trial offer, gamers can sign up for a T-Mobile annual voice plan of their choice and continue throughout 2004 with unlimited access to wireless gaming services for N-Gage at $9.99 per month.

Nokia is quite optimistic about this device, predicting it will sell 6 million of them over the next two years.

However, the N-Gage has drawn criticism from those who have had a chance to test it. For example, gamesindustry.biz said, “In order to put a game into the system, you have to turn the phone off, take the back cover off, remove the battery, slide out the existing game, put the new one in, put the battery back in, replace the back cover, hold down the power button for several seconds, wait for the system to boot up, open the main menu, select the game, open it… And then your game starts loading.”

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