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Nokia N81 released into the wild

Nokia announces the global shipment of the Nokia N81 8GB multimedia computer.

Nokia N81
Nokia N81

Today, Nokia announced the global availability of its Nokia N81 multimedia computer, which also ships with a preview of the N-Gage gaming service. As you may or may not recall, the N81 is available in two versions--an 8GB model and one with a microSD expansion slot that can accept cards up to 4GB--and both are optimized for gaming and music. They are equipped with 3.5mm headphone jacks and dedicated game keys (when held in landscape position). And while the N-Gage service won't be available till later this year, the devices will come with playable demos of EA Sports' FIFA 07, Asphalt 3, Street Rules, and Space Impact Light. Other highlights include Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), a 2.4-inch, 16 million-color QVGA screen, an FM tuner, and side-mounted dual stereo speakers. Unfortunately, looks like the quad-band phone won't work on our AT&T's 3G network.

Now, it wasn't clear whether the global release included the United States; we're trying to confirm this with Nokia. There are sites, including Nokia's U.S. Web site, that are listing the N81 but as "coming soon." Unlocked versions of the smartphones are going for about $599 for the 8GB version and $499 for the other model.