Nokia calls in sick with rad new phone

The 5510 looks more like a Gameboy Advance than a mobile phone, and will make its first outing at a snowboard show - just the demographic that Nokia hopes to attract

There's a lot of snow in Finland. There's also a lot of Nokia. Inevitably, the two got together -- first, with the phone company's sponsorship of international snowboarding competitions, and now with the launch of the first phone aimed squarely at the youthful demographic which is either snowboarding or wishing that it was.

Announced on Thursday -- and to be shown publicly for the first time at the Board Stupid snowboarding show at Manchester this weekend -- the Nokia 5510 is a radical departure from the company's previous trend of understated styling. Designed to be held in both hands like a Gameboy Advance, the phone has a high-resolution, monochrome LCD screen with clusters of buttons either side. These form a full QWERTY keyboard, designed for two thumb typing and feeding an advanced selection of SMS text messaging tools.

You can broadcast a message to multiple recipients, concatenate multiple messages together for longer texts, use a special chat mode, and so on. The controls are also set out for gamesplaying: the phone comes with five games, and extra levels can be downloaded once you've completed what's on offer. Nokia says that many games companies, including Rare and Eidos, are working on new software for the phone, but remains coy about when new product will be available and how it will be downloadable.

The phone also has an MP3 player and recorder, and an FM radio. Most of the phone's functions can be used simultaneously, so you can listen to MP3s while playing games or record from the radio into memory while texting. MP3s are stored in protected AAC format to discourage galloping piracy, but you can move music from one 5510 to another over the built-in USB interface. Uploading MP3s can only be done from Nokia's own PC software; the phone doesn't support the WMA standard. There's 64MB of flash memory for music storage, non-expandable; the battery lasts between 55 and 260 hours in standby, and the phone's available in red or blue -- no, you can't change the covers.

As befits the global nature of the snowboarding tribe, Nokia is launching the new phone in all territories simultaneously -- or at least in time for Christmas. The recommended price is 400 euros -- this will probably translate into between £100 and £150 on the street as the Nokia 8310 has a recommended price of 600 euros and costs between £150 and £200.

Useful Snowboarding Terms For 5510 Owners:

  • Andrecht: Rear handed backside handplant with front handed grab
  • Bail: Crashing
  • Beat: Bad, not good, unpleasant, dull
  • Crater: A crash, to crash
  • Fakie: Riding backwards
  • Fat/Phat: Really styled out, large
  • Flow: To donate without charge
  • Hucker: Flying through the air towards a crater
  • Lame: Thoroughly unimpressive
  • Pack: A crash, to crash
  • Rolling down the windows: To flail one's arms in the air desperately, usually before a crater
  • Rad: Radical, good, cool
  • Sick: Excellent, first class, top notch
  • Stoked: Excited
  • Wack: Not good, bad

See the Mobile Technology News Section for full coverage.

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