Nokia N79: Clever chameleon

Nokia's latest N-series phone, the N79, lets you swap battery covers that not only make your phone look different they also tell the N79's software what colour to be

Andrew Lim

Before this week's big Nokia announcement let us introduce you to the Nokia N79. Boasting HSDPA, Wi-Fi, GPS, an FM transmitter so you can play your tunes through a radio, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a 5-megapixel camera, the Nokia N79 is a rather nifty phone if ever we saw one.

What's clever about the Nokia N79 though is that when you change its battery cover to one of the three provided covers in the box, it automatically changes the N79's theme to match. OK, so it's not a mind-blowing feature but it does show how software can be integrated with hardware to offer users something different.

A while ago we saw this concept taken a step further by Modu, an Israeli company developing modular handsets that use a core module which fits into several different cases, essentially turning one phone into many. The Nokia N79's casing concept is far less ambitious but nevertheless takes Nokia's cases in a new direction.

As for the N79 as a phone, we really like its design -- the screen is large and sharp, and it rotates depending on which way you hold it up. But the N79's keypad left us a little less impressed as it's too flat for our liking and squashed together, making texting fiddly at times. Expect a full review soon.