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8/26/2008
10:20 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Nokia Knocks Out Two More N Series Multimedia Phones

Nokia is finally making good on its promise to deliver some exciting handsets to the North American market. The newly announced N85, N79, and N96 NAM are focused on users on this side of the pond, and deliver powerful multimedia and connectivity features.

Nokia is finally making good on its promise to deliver some exciting handsets to the North American market. The newly announced N85, N79, and N96 NAM are focused on users on this side of the pond, and deliver powerful multimedia and connectivity features.These are the types of phones that Nokia needs to have available in the U.S. market if it wants to bolster its presence here. The only thing lacking on the N85, N79, and N96 NAM is support from a U.S. carrier.

The N96 was first announced at Mobile World Congress earlier this year. Initially, it was only going to be released in a configuration supporting European and Asian markets. News of the N96 NAM (North American) version is welcome indeed. It will include dual-band HSDPA radios, supporting the 850/1,900 MHz frequencies used by AT&T's 3G network here in the United States. It's a shame, however, that Nokia didn't make the phone tri-band HSDPA, which would let U.S. users access 3G networks both here and in Europe.

The newly announced N85 and N79, in contrast, are both tri-band HSDPA. This means they can access 3G all over the place. These two N-Series phones share a number of features, including Wi-Fi, GPS, stereo Bluetooth, microSD support, TV out, 3.5-mm headset jacks, FM receivers and transmitters, video playback, and 5-megapixel cameras with autofocus and flash. The list goes on and on and on. If you want powerful, multimedia capabilities, the N Series devices aren't lacking.

Aside from a full list of features, the hardware is pretty good, too. The N85, for example, is very well conceived. It is a smaller, more compact version of the N96. This is a good thing. The N96 may be all-powerful, but it is a honkin' big piece of hardware. The N85 has almost all of the same functionality, but is packaged in a smaller, more pocket-friendly design.

The N79's claim to fame will be its interchangeable back plates. They can be removed and changed up to give users some control over the outside appearance of their phone. Otherwise, it has all the same features as its N85 brother.

All three of these devices will be available from Nokia's online sales channels and, of course, the U.S. flagship stores. Don't think that all this functionality will come cheap. The N96 NAM will likely retail close to $800, the N85 will set you back $666, and the N79 will empty your pocket of $518.

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