New N-Gage silences the critics

Suspicions that Nokia’s N-Gage “game deck” was a Trojan horse designed to give the company a foothold in the games industry were confirmed when Nokia recently unveiled the N-Gage QD (pictured right) overseas, a major development of the N-Gage, just seven months after the launch of the original.

The N-Gage received a critical hammering at the launch, because of perceived design faults: you had to talk into its side, take it apart to change games and were lucky to get four hours’ solid gameplay from a battery charge.

Websites likened it to a Cornish pasty, and Electronic Arts president John Riccitello described it as a dog.
But Nokia reacted quickly, and the N-Gage QD addresses all the criticisms.

The N-Gage QD (Nokia says the name does not mean anything) has a smaller surface area, and is slightly more ovate in shape.

It is also thicker, and has a rubber strip around its midriff. A flap in that rubber strip lifts up to reveal a slot that allows you to “hot-swap” game cartridges: put in a cartridge, and the game will launch automatically. You don’t need to dismantle the QD to change games.

When using the QD as a phone, you now speak into the top, as with conventional cellphones, and Nokia claims battery life has been doubled.

Nokia expects the N-Gage QD to be available in South Africa in July and it will retail for about R1 400. — Â

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