Nokia launches N85, N79 and N96 cell phones for the US

Nokia has expanded its N series of cell phones with two new models: the N85 and the N79. The company will also start selling an Americanized version of the upcoming N96, it announced on Tuesday.

The N85 comes in the shape of a two-way slider, and has 2.6 inch OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen. The phone measures 103 millimeters by 50 mm by 16 mm and weighs 128 grams. Users can surf the Internet using either HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) at 3.6M bps or use a wifi connection. They can also store photos taken with the 5-megapixel camera on the included 8G-byte microSD card. Photos can be geotagged using the built-in for A-GPS (Assisted Global Positioning System) receiver.

On the entertainment side, the phone comes loaded with at least 10 N-Gage gaming titles, and a voucher to activate one full game license, according to Nokia. The phone also has a built-in FM transmitter, which makes it possible to listen to music via a car radio. For users who prefer headphones there is a 3.5 mm audio jack.

The N85 is expected to begin shipping in October with an estimated retail price of €450 (US$660), before taxes and subsidies.

The candybar-shaped N79 will also start shipping in October. It's the cheaper of the two new phones, and will cost €350 ($515) before taxes and subsidies. It has many of the same features as the N85, including HSDPA, Wi-Fi, A-GPS, an FM transmitter and a 5-megapixel camera.

Multimedia is stored on a 4G-byte microSD memory card. It measures 110 millimeters by 49 mm by 15 mm and weighs 97 grams. The screen size is 2.4 inches.

Finally some good news for Nokia fans in the U.S., the N96 will be made available for high-speed 3G HSDPA networks used in this part of the world during the fourth quarter. It will cost an estimated $895.

The new members in the N series have the right mix of ingredients that has made products such as the N82 and N73 successful in the past, and they will probably sell well, according to Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner.

But she wants something more from Nokia than derivatives of already-successful phones.

"I think Nokia needs something more distinctive going forward, truly new products rather than devices that look like a refresh of previous products on a slightly different form factor," she said.

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