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Nokia N79, N85: N-Series twins

Nokia's R&D team must really be scratching their heads and wondering what to do next, as the company has announced two new phones with very little difference between them.

Nokia's latest: N85 and N79

Nokia's R&D team must really be scratching their heads and wondering what to do next.

The Finnish mobile giant has today announced two new N-Series media mobiles, the N85 and N79, each with near matching specs including 5-megapixel cameras, 3G network compatibility, Wi-Fi and GPS. In fact, one of the few features defining this duo is that the N79 will sport replaceable backplates available in a range of zany (read: fluoro) colours. Gone are the days Nokia could simply leave out Wi-Fi, but include GPS and pretend the phone was a specialised navigation device.

The N79 will replace the current N78 handset in Nokia's N-Series stable, but will carry over some of its features, including an FM radio transmitter, while also packing the higher-res camera over the 3.2-megapixel shooter on its predecessor. To store these larger photos, plus whatever other files you want to keep on you, Nokia plans to toss a 4GB memory card in the box.

The N85, without the teeth-aching-coloured battery covers, is hoping to attract shoppers with its dedicated gaming keys to be used with Nokia's ever-improving N-Gage gaming platform. The N85 will come preloaded with 10 N-Gage demo titles, with a voucher to activate one of these demos and download its licence for free. To sweeten the deal, the N85 also features an FM radio transmitter plus an 8GB MicroSDHC memory card for storing your media.

Both phones will also sport a 3.5mm headphone jack which is a godsend for media-centric mobiles, and proof hopefully that Nokia has finally left proprietary headphone ports back in the Stone Age where they belong.

The Finns expect the N79 to be priced at around AU$600 (€350) when released and that the N85 will cost just shy of AU$800 (€450). Nokia Australia has announced that both N-Series handsets will be available locally in Q1 2009, with pricing to be announced closer to the date.