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Nokia N-Gage QD US debut slips

Some 60 per cent fewer titles will ship, too

Update Nokia's N-Gage update, the N-Gage QD, will not ship in the US this month, as planned. Instead, the phone maker has rescheduled the launch to 27 July.

Separately, the company said it has cut the number of N-Gage titles it expects to see shipped by the end of the year by up to 60%.

The N-Gage QD is already available in Europe and Asia - it began shipping in the UK on 26 May - and is set to ship in Canada on 29 June.

The QD is more compact than its predecessor, and its more curvaceous casing makes the unit more easy to operate as a mobile phone. The unit's gamecard slot is now hot-swappable, and is located in the handheld's base, behind a rubber panel - so N-gage users no longer have to remove the battery first.

Nokia said today that the QD offers better battery life than the first N-Gage yet sports a brighter screen.

As per the previous edition, the QD supports Bluetooth-based multi-player gaming and can connect to Nokia's global N-Gage Arena community. A new N-Gage Arena launcher app makes accessing the N-Gage Arena easier than before, providing direct access to the N-Gage Arena community directly from the game deck.

In the US, the product is "ready for shipment", a Nokia spokesman said, but "we have made a business decision to maximise the impact of the launch by synchronising across all channel partners".

"For the Christmas market, there will be 40 games available," Nokia's head of strategy Matti Alahuhta said during Nokia Connection 2004 today. Punters can currently buy 20 games, he said.

Last December, however, Nokia said it expected to ship 50-100 titles by the end of 2004. ®

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