Nokia shot to center stage of cell phone land today by unveiling a gallery of new handsets and services at an event in London. We can't get across the pond to cover the news in person (though we did get a very short preview of the handsets last week), but we'll bring you the highlights here. Be sure to click through to read more details on each announcement. Or if you prefer pretty pictures, take a gander at our slide show.
North America finally will get its own version of the powerful Nokia N95. Though it looks just like the existing N95, it adds a few extras, such as more RAM and longer battery life. It also offers 3G support for North American networks. Welcome also to a new N95 with a whopping 8GB of internal memory.
There are two new editions of the Nokia N81. Nokia showed off an 8GB model and a version that can accept microSD cards up to 4GB. Both will offer high-end features and will support Nokia's newly launched Ovi Internet brand, where you can download songs from the new Nokia Music Store and games from the company's new N-Gage service.
Speaking of which, the Nokia Music Store will offer millions of tracks from a variety of music sources. You'll be able to browse for music, buy a song directly over the air to your phone, or add a song to a wish list for a later download.
The Music Store will be available through the Ovi brand of Internet services, which is also the focal point for reviving Nokia's unsuccessful N-Gage brand. But instead of bringing us another awkward N-Gage device, Nokia is developing a new N-Gage gaming platform. You'll be able to browse through a wide selection of game titles, download free trials, and purchase games directly from Nokia. The service will also offer community portal for playing games with friends, or even strangers.
Finally, Nokia also introduced two new Xpress Music devices. The 5310 and 5610 offer the nifty, high-end multimedia features you've come to expect from the Xpress music line. The 5310 has a slim candy bar design, while the 5610 is a slider phone.
All phones and services should be available beginning in the fourth quarter of this year. We don't have specific North American availability information, but we'll pass on the details as soon as they come. And you can bet that we'll have full reviews of the phones as soon as we can get our hands on them.