Nokia Announces N96; Fun While it Lasts

As we all knew thanks to a vindictive German webmaster, Nokia officially announced its new Jesus-phone today at Mobile World Congress. The N96 will take the place of the N95 in Q3 of this year as Nokia’s flagship mobile, and rightfully so. The specs are dangerous on this one and the styling is phenomenal as well. Powered by the S60 3rd FP2 OS, this upcoming handset is a tremendous improvement compared to the N95 in terms of styling, and the specs got a good kick in the pants as well. It maintains the dual-slide form factor but adds dedicated gaming buttons, a kickstand and 16 GB of internal memory along with microSDHC support to bring the potential storage total up to 32 GB! Key specs:

  • Quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz) and dual-band HSDPA (900/2100MHz)
  • 2.8″ QVGA display with 16m colors
  • WiFi with uPnP
  • DVB-H (digital TV)
  • 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, Carl Zeiss optics, dual-LED flash
  • VGA-quality video recording at 30 fps
  • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR and A2DP
  • 3.5mm AV outlet for audio and TV-Out
  • AGPS with Nokia Maps 2.0 and built-in geotagging
  • 16GB internal flash memory, microSDHC card slot
  • Hidden kickstand for watching video
  • Dual-slide with dedicated multimedia keys and gaming keys

The N96’s specs are impressive to say the least, but a few major bungles serve as the buzzkill that we’ve come to expect from Nokia. First and foremost, the N96 packs an amazingly disappointing 950 mAh battery. For real? We would have gladly had Nokia kick the thickness up from 18mm to 21 or 22mm to stuff a decent sized battery in there. Imagine streaming TV over HSDPA with this thing with a fair amount of standard apps running in the background. You’ll be lucky if you can even squeeze in a sitcom before the low battery message starts flashing! The second issue (that Nokia finally addressed with a couple of their other announcements today) is that only a Euro-HSDPA version was mentioned. There is no question that a US version will follow, but it looks like early adopters on this side of the pond will have that all too familiar decision to make. With a price tag of $800, we vote wait.


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