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8 Things You Need To Know About The Nokia N97

(1) The N97 is not Nokia's most expensive phone. This crown belongs to the Nokia 8800 Gold Arte which costs £1399 but the £499 N97 is the Finnish company's flagship model, its nec plus ultra and the one which is set to take on the Apple iPhone head on.

(2) The N97 is only Nokia's second touchscreen phone, the first one being the 5800 Xpressmusic. One can argue though that the N800 and the N810, which were technically mobile internet devices, were the first touchscreen devices from Nokia. Furthermore, the Nokia 7710 (opens in new tab) can also be considered as a tablet PC cum MID.

(3) The N97 has the most onboard storage found on any mobile phones. It comes with 32GB worth of storage onboard and users can add an additional 16GB through a microSD card. 32GB microSD cards will be available later this year and could bring the total storage to 64GB.

(4) Hardwarewise, the N97 is quite middle-range without any significant improvements over past Nokia mobile phones. Apart from the beefed up memory, it has a 5-megapixel camera (Sony, Samsung and LG all have plans for 12-megapixel models), a 3.5-inch resistive touchscreen (the iPhone, the G1, Sony Ericsson's Aino, the Pre all have capacitive displays) and a rather slow CPU, an ARM11 running at 434MHz (the Toshiba TG01 has a 1Ghz Qualcomm processor).

(5) To some extent, the N97 is already obsolete before it is launched. It was announced back in December 2008 but will only be released 7 months later, a few days before the Pre and the new iPhone are launched. By the time it is available worldwide, at least 20 other smartphones with similar features will be available. It is also worth noting that Nokia has not announced other similar smartphones yet.

(6) The N97 is so new that it is still not available on Nokia's OVI store (see the screen capture below) which means that customers will have to wait a few days. It is likely that the N97 will share the same application set as the N96, in which case, it is likely to have a catalogue of more than 1000 applications, out of which only a fraction will be free.

(7) The N97 is only available in the UK through Vodafone. It is likely to come to Vodafone in July 2009. Until then you can buy it at Nokia direct for a mere £499. Nokia wants to sell more than 10 million N97 units to match the very popular N95. (ed: all networks will have it actually on sale from the 26th of June)

(8) The N97 will be available in more than 75 countries but because of competition, no US mobile phone carriers will be subsidizing it which means that you will only be able to buy it unlocked at the full price of $699.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.