Nokia Puts Multimedia Functions into New Cell Phones

Nokia has launched its N90 multimedia phone, one in a line of new N series phones introduced by the company this week. The phones target the top-end business user market with features ranting from music playing to Web browsing to camera and video capabilities.

Juha Putkiranta, Senior Vice President, Multimedia Imaging, Nokia, said in a statement today, “We foresee that already this year, the camera phone market will grow to beover four times the size of the digital camera market.”

That’s big news for Nokia, which claimed more than half of all smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2005, nearly doubling its market share over the year-ago-period, according to analyst firm Canalys.

Phone with a Twist

The N90 features Carl Zeiss optics and a full set of advanced digital camera features that enable mobile photography with a twist.

The 2 megapixel N90 includes two screens for instant photo and video capture. Users twist the rotating camera barrel and snap a shot in camera mode. Or users can unfold and twist the main display and to shoot high quality video in MP4 format using the color landscape display as a viewfinder.

The camera also features autofocus with 20x digital zoom, integrated flash, macro mode for sharp close-ups, and high quality video capture with on-phone editing capabilities. Dedicated record and zoom keys, including up to 8x digital zoom for video capture, provide for very convenient one-hand operation.

“Not only is the market growing at an enormous pace but, as fantastically highlighted by the Nokia N90, camera phone functionality is also developing rapidly to meet the needs of the more demanding picture taker,” Putkiranta said. “With its pioneering multi-hinge twist-and-shoot design, we have brought ease-of-use and high quality photography into mobile telephony.”

Learning Curves

IDC wireless analyst David Linsalata told TechNewsWorld that the industry has reached the point where manufacturing technology and phone component technology is allowing for a variety of new designs. Nokia’s N series is part of an evolution toward next generation form factors that has included some bumps in the road.

“Nokia learned with the N-Gauge that you can’t take a mobile phone and say that it’s primarily some other device first,” Linsalata said. “The N-Gauge was built as a gaming device. But voice will always be the killer application. The N series device, especially the N90, makes that clear.”

Linsalata said Nokia’s N90 targets photography enthusiasts, and does it well, while remembering that the primary purpose of the device is voice communication. He expects other cell phone manufacturers to follow this trend toward segmenting market needs.

“We are going to see more innovative form factors that focus on attacking one segment of users, like audiophiles or gaming enthusiasts, in the future,” he predicted. “Consumers understand that the mobile phone is more than just a voice device.”

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