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Nokia offers $10,000 for new ring tone

Must evoke chaos, despair, impending doom

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Nokia is looking for a new ring tone, and offering $10,000 to anyone who can come up with something the next Dom Joly can use to annoy people.

The tone can't be entirely original, it must be a variation of the familiar Nokia tones, but the company is hoping for something a little updated and hip to go with its new identity which continues the evolution of the sound that was launched in 1994.

Back in the '90s, one only had a handful of tones to choose from, with Nokia's Morse version of "Connecting People" being another popular option. Later mobiles came with vibrations too, Nokia's "Disco" tone even made the handset dance in a circle when stood upright.

Nokia was also behind the first downloadable ringtones – the Harmonium service in 1998 – but the real explosion came when third parties realised they could charge for ring tones using premium SMS, without having to go through the network operators.

Having missed the boat so badly, operators spent a decade searching for "the next ringtone", while the world moved on and users migrated towards making their own ringtones from downloaded music (excepting iPhone users, who had to pay for the privilege for a while).

But having explored catchy tunes and symphonic concertos, most users end up with one of the default tones which generally catch the attention as well as being amusing (your correspondent prefers an irritating screech which fulfils the former as effectively as it fails the latter).

So that's what Nokia is after: remixes of its existing tones which engage attention while sounding suitably cool. Those who are not so musical can still vote on which they'd like to hear next time they bump into someone with a new Nokia handset, assuming that happens. ®

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