Details emerging from the GDC conference suggest that Nokia may reveal its N-Gage 2 phone-games console earlier than initially anticipated. In a briefing to developers, Nokia's head of developer relations, Kirsi Kotilainen, claimed that many of the problems of the current N-Gage will be addressed in the upcoming revised edition. Mr. Kotilainen also hinted that Nokia's major press event, on April 14, may be used to introduce N-Gage 2 to the media rather than May's E3 show as was initially expected.
The briefing also confirmed that Nokia's new device will address two of the major hardware issues which have caused considerable distress to N-Gage owners. Users of N-Gage 2 will not have to hold it sideways when using it as a phone since the microphone and speaker will be mounted on the face of the device.
The second issue was the, extremely annoying, need to remove the back of the system in order to replace a game cartridge. According to Mr. Kotilainen, N-Gage 2 game cartridges will be easily removable without the need for any technical knowledge.
It is clear that N-Gage needs quite some way to go before it can challenge the giants of handheld gaming but, as EA's boss suggested last month, Nokia is proving that it has the will to listen to users and the financial strength to constantly keep improving N-Gage.
It would certainly be foolish to write Nokia off the looming handheld wars.