With Nokia's gaming plans set to be launched in the near future, Ewan looks at the mountain the next gen N-Gage platform has to climb in order to be acclaimed as a success. The original N-Gage has been recently branded a failure by Nokia itself - but if a first generation product leads to a better second generation then it has its uses after all.
"although I still expect a games orientated Nseries device – have you tried a long Snake session on the N95 compared to on the QD?"
The N95 is surprisingly good in horizontal mode, but you're absolutely right.
However, I'd argue that the N93 in horizontal mode is actually a much more convincing games machine than the N-Gage or QD, as it has the controls all laid out within easy reach in the style of the GBA SP but also (crucially) has the screen in a horizontal orientation instead of vertical.
If Nokia did a very very slimmed down, much cheaper version of the N93/N93i (perhaps with all the expensive and bulky Carl Zeiss stuff removed), that might be the ideal form factor for a gaming-friendly phone as it would combine good gaming ergonomics in horizontal mode with a normal-looking phone-like non-nerdy shape when in vertical mode.
One of the reasons the N-Gage got raked over the coals was the vertical screen, which wasn't actually physically that small compared to successful systems like the GBA. Another reason was the way the N-Gage forced its owner to look like they were carrying a console everywhere. An N93-shaped model would deal with both of those problems.
I agree, the N93 design can make a really good game phone. Also dont forget the available TV-out option (Cable or Wifi). Imagine playing games installed on your phone using the large TV screen and the better TV speakers.