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2004 Holiday Pre-Preview

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The most important new device being shown by Nokia was probably their new communicator device - the 9300. Running Nokia's Series 80 platform, the 9300 is a close cousin of the 9500, announced back in February. The main difference is that the 9300 sheds crucial millimeters and grams, by also shedding the camera and wi-fi.

I was pleasantly surprised by the feel of both the keyboard and the device overall. The larger 9500 has a keyboard that's too big for thumb-typing, but too small for normal touch-typing. The 9300 remedies that flaw with a keyboard just small enough that it works for thumb typing. In my short test, I found it to be a very capable keyboard. The large key spacing does mean a lot of thumb movement, but at least no one can call it cramped. In fact, I would say it's the largest usable thumb-keyboard you can get.

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The 9300 also has a nice thin and light feel to it when open, and the fact that it opens a full 180 degrees is a big plus.

Quick rant: I'm a bit miffed at Nokia's decision to put both a camera and wi-fi in the 9500, but leave both out of the 9300. These devices are both targeted at business users, and there are two types of business users: those that spend most of their time in the office, and those that work mainly in the field. I'd think the field workers would have the most use for a camera, but probably care less about wi-fi. Whereas I'm guessing that wi-fi would be much more useful to the office-bound crowd, and not only would the camera not be useful, but it might not be allowed at all. So I don't really understand Nokia's all-or-nothing strategy on these two crucial features.

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