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Nokia spreads N-Gage across phone range

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Nokia didn't use the E3 games show to announce a third-generation N-Gage console, but it did announce that N-Gage games would be supported across its range of Series 60 smartphones.

Thanks to DRM workarounds, N-Gage games are already playable on Symbian handsets, after a fashion, but this gives them the official blessing, and gives games publishers a much larger market to shoot for. Nokia says it will sell 25 million Symbian handsets this year, and 250 million by 2008. Last September N-Gage said it has shipped a million units of the console. That's not bad for a single smartphone (PalmOne boasted of shipping its millionth Treo recently), but it's far short of a barnstorming success.

The first N-Gage compatible phones will begin to ship in the first half of next year, the company said. By this time Nokia's smartphone roadmap should look more coherent, as last year's decision to fold the Series 90 pen-based user interface into a Series 60 platform that supports higher resolutions makes its way onto the market. Developer tools for games houses should be available by the end of the year.

Nokia introduced a range of N-Gage compatible accessories and touted a slew of updates to the most popular console games. ®

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