Nokia N72 Preview - Fashion Phone for Emerging Markets

Published by at

The Nokia N72 specifications are not at the cutting edge - there is no 3G or WiFi, 'only' a 2 megapixel camera, a 'low' resolution screen, and it runs the 'old' version of S60 (2nd Edition). However this phone has it's own significance and it should outsell any of the other Nseries devices announced thus far. Rafe looks in more detail at the recently announced Nokia N72.
The Nokia N72 is one of the smallest Nseries handset available with a volume of 95cc (the same as the N70) it is second only to the N73 (90cc) in size. It is a tri-band GSM phone (900/1800/1900 MHz) with 3.5 hours talk time and 260 hours standby time with GPRS and EDGE support for data transfers. It has a 2.1 inch (176 x 208) 262,144 colour screen and 20 MB of on board memory with further expansion available via the hot swap RS-MMC (MMCMobile) slot .

The N72 is a fashion phone with an emphasis on allowing the individual to express themselves through their phones. This takes the form of the Glossy Black or Glossy Pink finish together with the digital texture found on the back on the phone. Bill Sermon, vice president of Multimedia Design, Nokia says the phone design was inspired by 'what the Nokia N72 means to someone, rather than what it can merely do for that person' and that Nokia 'drew on the relationship people have with things that inspire great performances, like the world's finest grand piano or the perfect handcrafted writing pen'. The S60 platform that powers the N72 means users can tailor the multimedia experience of the phone to suite their own needs.

N72 Front                 N72 Back

The N72 has a 2 megapixels camera (1600 x 1200) which produces good pictures. The results are generally food enough to print out at standard (6 x 4 inches) photo size. You can print direct from the phone using Bluetooth or USB PictBridge technology (XpressPrint) or transfer images to a PC via PC Suite and Image Transfer (XpressTransfer). The camera has an integrated LED flash which is useful for close ups (less than 4m) in low light conditions, but lacks the power of a real flash over larger distances. The Camera application includes digital zoom functionality, and various settings to change contrast, white balance and scene type as well as  video capture at 352 x 288 (CIF at 15 frames per second).

N72 Camera Mode
With support for MP3, AAC, eAAC and eAAC+ the N72 is a capable music player. Music playback is supported via a dedicated Music application which includes play list management and the usual audio refinements.  You transfer music to the phone using the Music Manager module of Nokia's PC Suite which includes the ability to rip music from CDs. The N72 also has a dedicated music key on the right hand side of the keypad to allow quick access to your tunes. You can play music over the loudspeaker but for best results you will want to use the included HS-31 stereo headphones. The Nokia AD-49 audio adaptor is included in the retail box which converts the Nokia Pop-Port to a standard 3.5 audio jack so you can use your own preferred headphones when listening to music. There is also a stereo FM radio available for when you get bored of your own music, but as with other phones you will need to plug in headphones before the radio operates because they are required to act as the aerial.

Music, images and video can be viewed via the Gallery application which collates all the multimedia files on the phone into one place. From the Gallery you can launch the companion applications such as the Image and Video Editors, and Real Player. The N72 also supports the upload of images direct to Flickr from menu entries in both the Gallery and Camera applications. The N72 will be the first Nokia phone on the market with this Flickr functionality.

Office and work functionality is well provided for with email support (IMAP, POP and SMTP), and document viewers for Word, Excel and PowerPoint and PDF files.

PC connectivity is to the PC Suite is via the USB 2.0 enabled Pop-Port or Bluetooth. The PC Suite supports the synchronization of contacts, notes and calendar and allows you to send SMS and MMS from your PC, back up the memory of the phone, transfer images and video from the phone, install third party software, transfer music and use your phone as a modem. Bluetooth 2.0 means support for enhanced data rates allowing for faster files transfer to and from other Bluetooth 2.0 devices.

Back Black     Back Pink

At first glance the Nokia N72 may look a little different from it's fraternal twin the Nokia N70. However the only real practical difference between them is the removal of WCDMA connectivity (and consequently the front facing camera) and a different exterior. The N72 is to the N70 as the Nokia 6682 is to the Nokia 6680. It is worth noting that there a non 3G N70 has been mentioned, the N70-5, but it is not currently on the market anywhere. At this point it seems only a network request would resurrect it, the N72 will fill it shoes.

So why is the Nokia N72 running S60 2nd Edition rather than 3rd Edition? The answer according to Nokia is 'development time scales'. The N72 will have been in development for some time, indeed it is likely it is a fork from the development of the Nokia N70. At the inception of the N70/N72 S60 2nd Edition would have been standard software. This also explains why the N72 will be available very shortly, in June 2006, it is that little bit further along the development path.

The key to understanding the positioning of the N72 is appreciating the phones target audience. It is a fashion phone aimed at emerging markets. Since it is a fashion phone it needs to be part of Nokia's Nseries premium brand (perception is everything) and because it is targeted at emerging markets it does not need 3G connectivity and overall costs need to be kept down. The N72 should not be compared to other S60 3rd Edition phones, but rather with it's real competition - other premium phone targeted at the emerging market. With that in mind the N72, with it's 2 megapixels camera, music capabilities, and stylish design backed by the proven S60 2nd Edition platform, reveals itself to be an extremely versatile and powerful phone which should be one of the best selling S60 phones ever.

The Nokia N72 is scheduled to go on sale in June for around 320 Euros in various markets worldwide, including the Middle East and Africa, Russia, Eastern Europe, mainland China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. The N72 is available in Gloss Black or Pearl Pink. In the sales box you will find a Nokia N72, a Nokia Battery BL-5C (970mAh), a Nokia Charger AC-3, a Nokia Charger Adapter CA-44 (for use with older Nokia chargers), a colour-coded Nokia Stereo Headset HS-31, a Nokia Audio Adapter AD-49, a Nokia Connectivity Cable CA-53, a colour-coded wrist strap, a cleaning cloth, a CD-ROM (Nokia PC Suite & Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition) and various User Guides.