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Nokia ships 1m N-Gage consoles

Some way off original forecasts

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Nokia has shipped over one million N-Gage phone-cum-consoles, the handset manufacturer said today.

It's no surprise, perhaps, that Nokia attributes reaching this milestone to the "enthusiastic consumer response" to the device's second incarnation, the N-Gage QD, which shipped last May, following its April introduction.

That suggests that the company would have hit the million mark sooner had it not been forced to delay the QD's US debut to the end of July. But not that much sooner - N-Gage's most populous territory is the UK, by a large margin, apparently.

The million shipments mark is widely seen as a the point at which a handheld has moved beyond the early adopter market and into the mainstream.

Of course, shipments and sales are not the same thing, but Nokia staffers claim that the latter isn't far behind the former. Nokia announced last February that shipments had exceeded 600,000 units since the console's October 2003 launch, so, it's taken six months to ship the remaining 400,000-odd units. Even with the boost from the QD, that represents a decline.

And the company is a long way off the "millions" it originally expected to ship in 2004.

Nokia now faces some still competition going forward: Tapwave's Zodiac and Tiger Telematics' Gizmondo consoles are both set to launch in the UK before the end of the year, and offer gamers not only large, landscape displays, but chuck in a range of multimedia features which again benefit from screens rather larger than the N-Gage's.

Further off, Nintendo's DS and Sony's PlayStation Portable likewise will offer bigger displays but a might stronger brand awareness than Nokia's other rivals possess.

Nokia also said its online N-Gage Arena had signed up 100,000 users - just ten per cent of the console's user base. ®

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