Nokia held a worldwide press event in 4 locations yesterday that was used to announce some new devices and accessories. The event also gave the attendees the opportunity to get some hands-on time with the products and face time with Nokia representatives.
I posted some initial impressions of the Nokia N95 and wanted to post my report on the complete Open Studio event. I paid for my own ticket to get to the event held in an historic armory in downtown New York. I checked in as press and then had some breakfast snacks and chatted wit people like Howard Chui. Nokia had a huge stage setup and we then moved over into this area for the press briefings. We learned about the N95, N75, and much more that I'll chat about a bit below in each section. We were given a nice Nokia Bluetooth headset, the 800 model, and were loaned a Nokia N80 Internet Edition to try out during the event with the opportunity to purchase it at a reduced price. I used the device for a couple hours, but like my N91 better so I returned it before I left.
There is something about the American cell phone user that has most of us desiring to use a clamshell form factor device. This isn't the case in many other parts of the world where candy bar form factor devices are more popular. Nokia is now launching a competitor to devices like the Motorola RAZR with the Nokia N75. The Nokia N75 has a 2 megapixel camera, flip open clamshell form factor, flat keypad, and high resolution 2.4 inch display. It runs S60 3rd Edition so it has all the powerful Nseries functions we see in all the other devices. My wife would absolutely love this phone and I understand that it is supposed to be available initially in the US during the fourth quarter of 2006, which means I may have just found her Christmas gift.
In addition to the full featured Nokia N95 and N75, Nokia also announced a makeover for three other devices. The Nokia N70, N73, and N91 8GB all now come in black and can be purchased as Music Editions. This is more of a marketing label, except for the increase in hard drive capacity of the N91 from 4GB to 8 GB. I played a bit with the N91 8GB model and the black color is attractive. The N70 and N73 should be available in October and the N91 8GB Edition by the end of 2006 with prices of 350, 450, and 550 euros respectively.
Nokia representatives also announced a new program called Nokia Music Recommenders that brings together music experts from around the world that will be providing recommendations on different genres. David Bowie is a part of the program and discussed how they want to help discover music talent that people may not be that familiar with . Several independent record stores will offer personalized selections of music for users to browse for free. You can have the recommendations sent each month to your inbox too. The beta is scheduled to start in November and you can find out more information on the program at the Music Recommenders site.
To enhance the listening experience of the new devices, with A2DP in the N95 as well, Nokia announced new headphones and speakers. The Nokia HS-81 headset, made by Sennheiser, are quite comfortable and have great sound. The HS-62 Advanced Music headphones have 40mm stereo speakers and fold away for portability. There were also three new Bluetooth stereo headphones announced, the BH-801, BH-302, and BH-207. The 801 is the top of the line and looks very nice. All of these allow you to manage calls using the headsets. If you want to listen to music without headphones, but with more than the integrated speaker then Nokia has a couple of new external speaker solutions. The MD-4 mini speakers extend to a V shape or fold up for portability and also have an integrated radio antenna to improve your FM reception. The MD-3 speakers are more traditional looking speakers that provide excellent sound as well. I am thinking about buying one of these solution to enjoy music in my hotel room, garage, or other place where I may not want to wear headphones all the time.
After the press announcements, there was a short panel discussion held with Nokia, Yahoo, FON, and Om Malik. Following this the venue was opened up and we were able to get hands-on time with the devices and accessories and chat with Nokia representatives. I then left to visit the Nokia Flagship store before heading to the train station and was disappointed to find that it was closed for a special event and I couldn't convince the couple people there to let me in for a few minutes. I enjoyed the event and plan on buying the N75 for my wife and the N95 for myself when they become available.