Nokia Nseries Launch
The N91 is Nokia's first serious attempt to go after the iPod market. This music-centric phone can store thousands of songs, has dedicated music keys on the front, and a long list of advanced music- and audio- oriented features.
Like an iPod mini, the N91 has a tiny 4GB hard drive and a 3.5mm stereo jack for connecting real stereo headphones (unlike the 2.5mm type on most phones.) Also like an iPod, the N91 can be connected to a PC via USB 2.0 for fast and easy transfer of sound files, and you can also use it to store, transfer, and backup files from a PC. And finally, like an iPod photo, it can show album cover art for the song that's playing.
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But that's about where the similarities end. The N91 includes many features that an iPod lacks, such as an FM radio, Bluetooth, (stereo, no less,) and wi-fi (802.11b/g) for transferring songs quickly in any situation. The N91 even has audio recording, via a line-in jack or from the FM radio - both in stereo.
In many ways, the N91 might remind people of the Motorola E725 announced last month in Miami. Both phones have special music controls on the front, lots of storage, and a 3.5mm jack. The N91 doesn't have the cool FM-broadcast feature of the E725, but in every other way the N91 a much higher-end and more feature-packed phone.
The N91 has all the standard playlist features you'd expect. You can create multiple playlists and organize them any way you like. The music features can always be controlled via the special keys on the front, and the funny-looking angled key always takes you to the main music menu.
The N91 is Nokia's first phone with a hard drive. This is a major milestone for the company, and the industry in general. While Samsung has already announced a GSM hard-drive phone, it stores a bit less at 3GB. Unlike some other hard-drive phones coming out over the next year that can basically only store music, the N91 can store any type of file (photo, video, spreadsheet, presentation... etc.) on the drive, and the files can be accessed from either a PC (via USB) or the phone itself.
Interestingly, because it has the hard drive, Nokia didn't feel it needed a memory card slot; the N91 is Nokia's first Series 60 smartphone since the original 7650 without one.
Of course the biggest difference between the N91 and iPod is that the N91 is also a smartphone. As a high-end phone, it sports a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and 3G (WCDMA).
The N91 also marks a move toward new connectors for Nokia. Like all new Nseries phones, it has a new, smaller power jack. This is a strategic move to allow Nokia to make all their phones slightly smaller going forward. In a similar vein, the N91 is also the first Nokia to sport a standard mini-USB connector instead of Nokia's (in)famous Pop-Port connector. According to Nokia Director of Product Marketing Joe Coles, mini-USB will gradually replace Pop-Port in all new Nokia phones starting in 2006.
The N91 will be available in a 3G and tri-band GSM version for Europe and Asia by the end of this year. Nokia does plan to bring it to the U.S. several months later, although specifics haven't been announced.