One has to wonder why Nokia used the N-Gage name, recently polled to rank above dhengi fever but below open sore in the likability scale. No matter, this new version has a good chance of succeeding because it has the weight of Nokia fully behind it.
What N-Gage is this time is a platform that will be on the segment of the market called 'converged devices' by Nokia, a rather broad set of parameters that roughly equate to what the rest of the world calls smart phones.
Nokia is the largest phone company out there with about a 35 per cent market share, the number two has about 20%. In the converged device segment, Nokia has a 52 per cent share, and it is the fastest growing segment of their market. There are about 80 million of these devices out there and 40 million are Noikas. By the end of 2008, there will be around 250 million converged phones floating around.
The N-Gage app, which will be available from an over the air download or a tethered net connection, will go live in the autumn of '07, and in all capable Nokia devices by the close of 07. Basically it will be everywhere.
The Symbian OS provides the base layer and the S60 UI rides on top of that. N-Gage is a C++ framework and platform that sits on top of S60. It does three main things, it is a client app, a distribution network and a connected platform.
It takes a lot of the gruntwork out of writing mobile games. You don't have to make a billing system, it is there. No need for a social networking piece, profiles or connection logic, it is also there. You want to bill with credit cards or from the provider? You can. Same with rental, outright buying, or other pay per use plans.
This time, N-Gage is a lot more of an idea than a product. You don't go out and buy an N-Gage, you buy a Nokia phone and it has N-Gage capabilities if you want them or not. Basically, it can't fail, but it still has a karmic hole of epic proportions to dig it's way out of. µ
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