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Nokia N91, round two

Nokia refines its N91 smart phone with more power and a new color


The new incarnation of the Nokia's N91 music phone is labeled on the company's U.S. Web site as "coming soon." In case you don't know, this second N91 has an 8GB hard drive for storing your tunes (double the 4GB hard drive on the first N91), and it sports a sleek black color scheme (as opposed to silver). After black was the new silver, and pink was the new black, it appears that, at least for smart phones, black is the new black. The phone also will offer an A2DP stereo Bluetooth, and Nokia promises that it will be compatible with Yahoo Music and other music sites.

Otherwise, the new N91 is about the same as its predecessor. It's still a bit big and bulky, but the slider design is somewhat cool. Features include a 2-megapixel camera with video, a digital music player (with integrated RealPlayer), voice commands and dialing, USB mass storage, e-mail, personal organizer applications, and a speakerphone. It all runs Nokia series 60, third edition, on the Symbian 9.1 operating system. Though we didn't love the original N91's sluggish performance, we hope that this new model does a better job of managing its tasks. And since Nokia is calling the N91 an "Xpress Music" phone like the excellent Nokia 5300, we expect to deliver this time around.

Since carrier-supported N-series phones are scarce in the United States, we're hoping the N91 breaks the trend. Yet to make it happen, Nokia should increase the current tri-band (GSM 900/1800/1900) coverage to quad-band and change the N91's WCDMA band support from 2100, which is a band used in Europe.

We don't know pricing at this point, but we'll post more release information when we get it. Nokia is dedicating a whole tent to its N-series smart phones (or "multimedia computers" as Nokia calls them) at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show, so we may learn more there.