JavaOne North Americans will, after all, be able to use the world's most coveted phone. Later today we gather, Nokia President Pekka Ala-Pietilä will announce that the 9210 communicator will be tailored for the US market in his keynote at JavaOne in San Francisco.
The 9210 was "launched" as long ago as last November in Prague, and so has been a long time coming. Its predecessors became cult favourites with BOFHs, largely because they came with built-in Telnet clients, which allowed sysadmins to dial into their Cisco routers without leaving the pub. The revamped model doesn't actually have built-in Telnet, it's very much geared around communications software, and glitzy multimedia, but as it's the first phone that lets you download Symbian software, plenty of off-the-shelf options are available.
It's smaller than its clunky predecessors, weighing about as much as a Palm organiser, but with a full keyboard and colour screen. Nokia has only committed to launching in the 900/1800 GSM version until now.
Nokia has said that half of the phones it would ship in 2004 would be Symbian-based, so it's very much the shape of things to come. Even if, strictly speaking, it isn't quite the shape of things to come: most of these devices will be conventional (non clamshell) phones, or Palm-like tablet devices.
And here's a picture - in low-fi Pixelvision - of your correspondent playing a game using the device's Java Virtual Machine at the Nokia stand. It's a roadracer game, which we lost because we smoked our engine after trying to cut a corner by running over a cat.
A cat? "It's a very big cat," explained the tall Finnish lass on the stand. You get one of those with every phone. A Java VM, that is, not a tall Finnish lass. Or a cat.
There were many other lush new phones at JavaOne, and here's but a selection. As several of these have been on the market for some weeks, and all feature some form of Java or another as their primary platform, Sun is entitled to feel pleased with itself,
On display are devices from Hitachi, Sharp, and Motorola amongst others. The red thing is the DoCoMo KJava iMode phone. Oh, and that's the Sharp Zaurus Linux PDA above them, too.
More details - and Pixelvision low-res snaps - to follow. ®