All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped

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  #1  
Old 13-09-2007, 11:59 AM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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N-Gage: Exclusivity isn't the way to go

Where are all the phones? Asks a headline story on our sister site, AllAboutNgage. 'Tzer2' ponders in detail why Nokia has chosen to exclude many top spec S60 smartphones from the initial N-Gage platform compatibility list. Is it really down to just snobbery and internal politics at Nokia?

Read on in the full article.

  #2  
Old 13-09-2007, 07:12 PM
stracenska
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I thought it was pretty obvious that only the latest nseries devices have the necessary 3d chip to play the new games. Saying all these devices have the same hardware is a blanket statement and shows that this was not a well-researched article.

  #3  
Old 13-09-2007, 08:11 PM
luarvique luarvique is offline
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As far as I know, N73 has no 3D hardware, and the whole N-Gage thing is now supposed to be about the distribution model, not hardware, right?

Anyway, it looks like Nokia is shooting itself in the foot again. Seen that before. Will see it again in the future, many many times.

  #4  
Old 13-09-2007, 08:27 PM
it's me
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N81 and N81 8GB don't have 3D chip either

  #5  
Old 13-09-2007, 09:16 PM
AlmostDone
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Most of the phones have a 330mhz processor except the n73 which uses 220Mhz older ARM processor. It's no where near as fast...

  #6  
Old 13-09-2007, 09:21 PM
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The n73 is certainly is the odd one out and should be scrapped... If they focus on making games to be compatible with n73 then it will be nothing special. The other handsets are far more powerful.

  #7  
Old 13-09-2007, 10:02 PM
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Beer

Take off the N73 and I would perfectly content with the list, but as the N73 is included, that makes us doubt about all the other phones.

  #8  
Old 13-09-2007, 10:02 PM
Tzer2 Tzer2 is offline
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"I thought it was pretty obvious that only the latest nseries devices have the necessary 3d chip to play the new games. Saying all these devices have the same hardware is a blanket statement and shows that this was not a well-researched article."

Before you accuse articles of bad research, you might want to read them carefully yourself.

The whole starting point for my argument is that the N73 (an older phone with no 3D chip and a relatively slow CPU) is part of the Next Gen N-Gage platform. All of the phones I listed are as powerful or more powerful than the N73, so there's no technical reason for them to be excluded.

And as others have pointed out, the N81 doesn't have a 3D chip either.


"The n73 is certainly is the odd one out"

Well, this is why I wrote the article. I think Nokia has two choices for the Next Gen:

1. Go for as big a userbase as quickly as possible, so include all the S60 3rd Editions with a QVGA screen

or

2. Go for a slightly beefed up standard, so only include models with a 3D chip and/or a fast (300mhz+) processor.

Either of these routes would be logical, but Nokia have gone for a weird compromise by including the N73 but not including all the other S60 3rd Editions with similar specifications.

  #9  
Old 13-09-2007, 10:17 PM
Tzer2 Tzer2 is offline
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By the way, Next Gen N-Gage isn't a console, it's not some set-in-stone standard which will remain the same forever. It's much more like the PC gaming scene in terms of how the hardware will evolve.

PC games were originally written for 3.5 mhz machines with 640KB of RAM, but they gradually evolved over time to be written for 1 ghz systems with 512MB of RAM. When PC 3D cards first appeared, a few games used them as an optional extra, but gradually as 3D chips became standard the games started assuming they were there. Eventually PC games started to require a 3D card, even though 3D cards didn't exist when the PC standard was invented.

There were no set generations of PC, they just became a little faster with each new model, and had lots of new models, just like smartphones.

This is what I think will happen with Next Gen N-Gage, in a couple of years time all new S60 phone models will have 3D chips so all the new game releases will use 3D chips.

Last edited by Tzer2; 13-09-2007 at 10:21 PM.

  #10  
Old 13-09-2007, 11:32 PM
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I'd say there were two possible reasons; one is that they think the ordinary non-technical punter in the street will simply think "This cheaper 6120 does these same N-Gage games, so one big less reason to shell out for an NSeries" - this possibility will put fear into the NSeries marketing dept, and the same logic will apply within NSeries, they will want to avoid possible cannibalisation of individual handset sales.

Second reason is they just haven't finished complete and thorough development and testing of the N-Gage software platform for all the other remaining handsets you mention. The LAST thing they will want is some rushed botch job done on N-Gage for a particular handset, and the huge negative press and image fallout for the brand that that will create.

Alex
phonething.com

  #11  
Old 14-09-2007, 03:11 AM
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Could it be though that the minimum spec is based on screen size? I think all those N series phonese have a larger screen. The 6120 is 2". I think the 6290 and the 5700 are 2.2". But the N73 and other N series phones are at least 2.4" right? I'm just thinking that the N-Gage plateform may have a minimum screen-size spec in order to play the games.

  #12  
Old 14-09-2007, 06:24 AM
viipottaja viipottaja is offline
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Smile

I would think that the reason is indeed that they have not yet fully tested the software etc. on all models. I think it is at least conceivable that we are all underestimating slightly how easy it is indeed just to slap the software on just any S60 3rd edition.

Another reason for excluding e.g./in particular the N75 FOR NOW could be marketing and carrier relationship related. Nokia is walking, to some extent, on egg shells here in the US.

The inclusion of N73 in my view actually gives us considerable hope that the platform would eventually extend at least most of N-Series and that they do want to have a very large user base.

However, the negative scenario is that they may indeed not include in the E-series or even non-N-Series S60 phones for product differentation reasons... Whether one could just grab the application and install it oneself is an interesting question of course.

  #13  
Old 14-09-2007, 08:30 AM
Tzer2 Tzer2 is offline
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"I'd say there were two possible reasons; one is that they think the ordinary non-technical punter in the street will simply think "This cheaper 6120 does these same N-Gage games, so one big less reason to shell out for an NSeries" - this possibility will put fear into the NSeries marketing dept, and the same logic will apply within NSeries, they will want to avoid possible cannibalisation of individual handset sales."

Well, that's why I wrote the last section of the article, to discuss the idea of feature exclusivity driving sales of higher end phones, and why this is mistaken when it comes to gaming.

Yes, manufacturers do tend to artificially put advanced features in their more expensive models, and it works if you have extras like high res cameras or built-in photo editing software, which are appealing even when small numbers of people buy them. But that's entirely the wrong approach for a gaming platform feature.

Gaming as a feature loses its attraction when its userbase is smaller than it should be. For gaming to be an attractive feature in ANY phone, Nseries or otherwise, it has to have as big a userbase as possible in order to attract both third party software support and an online gamer population.

If the 6120 alone was added to the platform for example, that would probably bring more to the userbase than the original gen N-Gage ever had.


"Second reason is they just haven't finished complete and thorough development and testing of the N-Gage software platform for all the other remaining handsets you mention."

That's a very good point, and I certainly hope that's true. For the sake of the N-Gage platform I hope that my entire article will be proved wrong, and Nokia announce before the launch that a few more handsets are now tested and certified compatible.

Some Nokia people have certainly dropped hints that this might be the case, they keep emphasising that the list will grow in the future, and that it only includes Nseries "for the moment".


"The LAST thing they will want is some rushed botch job done on N-Gage for a particular handset, and the huge negative press and image fallout for the brand that that will create."

I totally 100% agree, the first N-Gage was an example of how not to launch a new gaming platform partly because the exclusive written-for-ngage games and multiplayer online just weren't ready yet. They were great when they arrived, Pathway To Glory got brilliant reviews for example, but by then no one was paying attention to N-Gage any more. If the original N-Gage had launched with PTG, Pocket Kingdom, System Rush, High Seize etc people would have seen the system's real strengths.

I'm sure the delays (Next Gen was originally meant to launch in 2006, and they first unveiled the concept way back in 2005) have been to get this absolutely right.

I'm just puzzled why they didn't have time to test more than the seven phones they did. Even if we go by the sticking-to-Nseries theory, why isn't the N76 included in the platform?


"Could it be though that the minimum spec is based on screen size? I think all those N series phonese have a larger screen. The 6120 is 2". I think the 6290 and the 5700 are 2.2". But the N73 and other N series phones are at least 2.4" right?"

Very very interesting idea, hadn't thought of that at all, the screens of most of the excluded phones are indeed slightly smaller!

From a technical point of view the software only cares about is the resolution, not the physical screen size, so this shouldn't be a technical barrier, although it might be a human barrier if people can't see the text properly.

This depends on the person, but I played games quite a lot on the 6120 when I had it for review and the screen is okay for gaming, I got quite addicted to City Bloxx on that phone. The 6290, 5700 and 6110 have even bigger screens than the 6120 and I'd say they are all definitely big enough for gaming, but that's just my opinion.

It still wouldn't explain the lack of N76 compatibility, it has a 2.4" screen, but in general this is a very interesting theory.


"The inclusion of N73 in my view actually gives us considerable hope that the platform would eventually extend at least most of N-Series and that they do want to have a very large user base."

Yes, I agree, and that's probably why they used the N73 as the reference hardware for game developers. By using a lower spec S60 3rd Edition device, it gave them a broad range of models to include in the platform, it left all their options open for making Next Gen N-Gage very big very quickly.

I just wish that they'd actually use these options! :-)
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  #14  
Old 15-09-2007, 06:10 PM
Mobile Stream Mobile Stream is offline
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Although E90 is considered a business smartphone, Nokia did publish Global Race game for it. Why it should then exclude E-series (particularly E90) from Next Gaming Platform is not quite clear.

  #15  
Old 15-09-2007, 06:21 PM
Tzer2 Tzer2 is offline
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"Although E90 is considered a business smartphone, Nokia did publish Global Race game for it. Why it should then exclude E-series (particularly E90) from Next Gaming Platform is not quite clear."

Another good point. It's very odd that they published Global Race exclusively for E90 and included 3D graphics hardware on the E90 if they don't intend to allow people to use it for the Next Gen Games. What is the graphics chip there for if not for gaming? It can be used for TV Out as well, but E90 doesn't have TV Out.

And as you say, if they allow E90 why not allow all the Eseries?

They wouldn't have to advertise Eseries being compatible, they could just quietly mention in a spec page somewhere that the N-Gage app is compatible with Eseries, just like S60 games are.
 

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