When Nokia?s N-Gage hit the market a few years ago, gamers were slow to embrace the well-known cell phone producer as a feasible candidate in the handheld gaming market. The original N-Gage game deck could double as a cell phone (something that no other handheld had done before or after) but was met with mixed reviews, with a host of technical problems holding it back, regardless of how impressive the handheld was for its time. The unit was slightly bulky compared to most existing cell phones, required you to shut down the unit and take the battery out in order to swap games. Not to mention the fact that in order to talk on the thing (it was a cell phone, after all) you?d have to hold it sideways against your face, much like talking into the side of a taco.
Nokia rectified these issues with their sleek N-Gage QD model that was released a year later, but by then most of the damage had been done and the unit was never able to pick up the steam it needed to compete with the Nintendos and the Sonys claiming some serious ownership on the handheld genre.
However, this time around, Nokia is reworking its entire market philosophy when it comes its next-gen entries. For the next ?N-Gage?, Nokia isn?t going out there with a new single game-deck to run its hardware, but rather starting up a new viable gaming platform for a bevy of different cell phones. The Nseries of mobile phones will be the next evolution of Nokia?s gaming strategy, offering compelling content coupled with gaming-on-the-go as only the mobile platform can provide.
The new Nseries of phones will have a bevy of features in them, so much to the point that Nokia are shying away from the cell phone moniker and referring to the units as multimedia computers, given that they are capable of gaming, photos and video and, oh yeah, talking.
Nokia is putting their focus on software this time around, utilizing not only Java but also C++ and other programming platforms in order to utilize the fullest potential of mobile phones. With this added focus on utilizing what cell phones are capable of, Nokia will be able to bring a cohesive Mobile Gaming
experience with great 3D graphics.
One game that Nokia showcased at their recent press event was their sequel to ONE, their 2004 3D brawler. The brief trailer showed the game running in real time, featuring great lighting effects and fluid animations, all running at a steady 30 frames per second, not too shabby for a cell phone.
Aside from next-gen graphics, Nokia is making things easier for Java development courtesy of their SNAP Mobile solution. SNAP Mobile is looking to help streamline the development process for Java based applications. The company has gotten some high profile support as of late for SNAP Mobile, with the announcement of a recent deal inked between Nokia and Taito to create the much beloved Bust-A-Move for mobile phones.
Nokia is shifting gears this time around, putting the focus on games and revitalizing the mobile platform as a whole, and the results should spell good things for the future of mobile gaming.