The first official picture of Nokia's shrunken version of its flagship smartphone, the N97 Mini, has emerged in France amidst report of a significant price reduction by the Finnish mobile giant.
According to Begeek.fr, the N97 Mini will come with a 3-inch screen rather than a 3.5-inch model, with a lower storage capacity (8GB or 16GB rather than 32GB) but surprisingly, it is expected to have more built-in storage compared to the N97 (250MB vs 50MB).
The French website is also saying that the N97 Mini could undercut the N79's price by as much as 170 Euros, which leads us to strongly believe that Nokia has achieved significant savings by using similar components (like the screen, the processor or other components).
The photo shows that the N97 should be around 10mm shorter in size and a simpler, three-row keyboard that gets rid of the D-pad controller. The phone is expected to be launched next week at Nokia World 2009.
News of an elusive N97 Mini first came public in June 2009 when a moderator on Vodafone Ireland's forum said that the N97 Mini would have a competitive pricing even though it was not launched.
It is also a quasi-certainty that the phone will not be exclusive to any network, which means that it will be sold as a mainstream smartphone rather than one to rival the iPhone or the Palm Pre.
The N97 Mini could actually be a good thing for Nokia. The world's largest mobile phone manufacturer should never forget that it used to rule the lower to mid range mobile market; a segment where Sony, LG, HTC, Blackberry and Samsung are now openly challenging it. The N97 Mini could cost around £350 on PAYG, which would put it at around £25 per month on contracts.