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Nokia fusing radios, cameras and games consoles

Winter fashions

Nokia unveiled six new handsets at its annual mobile internet conference today, but the much anticipated Communicator refresh didn't take place.

Two of the handsets are characteristically dazzling experiments in industrial design, and the Finnish giant announced a new gaming platform based on Symbian OS and Nokia's own Series 60 which is quite striking.

But we'll have to wait a little longer to see the first instantiation (as they call it) of the Hildon platform, the long-term successor to the Nokia 9210/90. Hildon has been misspelled here often enough, and has its roots in reference designs created at Psion. Series 80 is the old Crystal Symbian reference design, and the API for 9200 developers. It's rumored that Nokia will create a new designation - Series 90 - for the Hildons. Nokia registered the domain name last December, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to use it: it may simply be a safeguard against pranksters.

(An enthusiast sympathetic to PocketPC squatted the Series 60 domain briefly last year).

Raising the handlebar

No phone range is launched without at least one design adventure, and here we're treated to two.

The new 7250 has a built-in FM radio, with a sliding mechanism similar to Palm's Tungsten T. Only the two halves slide apart to reveal a camera lens rather than a Graffitti area: it's another camera phone, Nokia's third. North American users will be able to use this on the 1900Mhz networks here. The 6800 [specs shas a built-in FM radio with a full handlebar keyboard. It picks up where its predecessor, the 5510 - which also sported a handlebar keyboard on either side of the screen - left off. Only the 6800 keyboard collapses when not in use. Awkward to describe, but easy to grok, once you see the pictures.

The high-end 8910 gets a refresh, in titanium. Two other models will interest our American readers: the sporty 5100 and the more sober 6100 will also work on the 1900Mhz band, although Nokia hasn't committed to a launch in the Americas.

Common across the range are high quality color screens, Java, always-on packet data, polyphonic ring tones, and support for MMS picture messaging.

Nokia announced its first 3G phone in September.

Infosync has been keeping count of Nokia's launches, and reckons that the Finnish giant has launched thirty (30) phones this year. I'll go and see how many I can find downtown this afternoon.

Obviously something quite significant is happening, and it isn't happening here. ®

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