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Nokia N97 mini makes big debut

Nokia kicks off its Nokia World conference with several product announcements, including the Nokia N97 mini.

Nokia N97 Mini
Nokia N97 mini

Nokia World 2009 began on Wednesday in Stuttgart, Germany, and to kick things off, the Finnish cell phone manufacturer introduced several new handsets, including the Nokia N97 mini.

As the little brother to the Nokia N97, the smartphone actually isn't all that much smaller than the N97. The mini measures 4.4 inches tall by 2 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick (compared to the N97's 4.6 inches by 2.1 inches by 0.6 inch) and features a 3.2-inch tilting touch screen. It still offers a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard sans the directional keypad, but judging by the press shots, it looks like Nokia didn't do anything about the wonky placement of the space bar.

However, the big news about the Nokia N97 mini isn't so much about the physical design but rather what lies beneath. The mini will run new software that adds improvements to the user interface, including more home-screen widgets and flick scrolling, and incorporates more social networking tools.

One such tool will be Lifecasting with Ovi, which lets users post their location and status updates straight from the N97 mini. In addition, the device will come with loaded with a new version of Ovi Maps where you'll be able to access content from Lonely Planet, Michelin and Wcities.

Other highlights of the S60 5th edition phone include a 5-megapixel camera, 8GB of onboard memory with a microSD expansion slot, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Unfortunately, the announced version does not support North American 3G bands, but we suspect Nokia will launch a NAM version as it has with the N97 and several of its other smartphones.

The Nokia N97 mini is expected to ship in October with an estimated retail price of 450 Euros (about $640 U.S.). In addition, Nokia announced that it will release a software update and make Lifecasting with Ovi available to the N97 in October as well. Other announcements from Nokia World 09 include the Nokia X3 and X6 and new services.