Nokia N-GAGE QD (Rayman bundle)

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The N-gage QD is a redesigned version of the original N-gage. It was released by Nokia on the 26. of May 2004.

Around the 00’s ever more young people carried both a phone and a handheld in their pocket. In many cases the phone would be a Nokia and the handheld a Gameboy, respectively the largest mobile phone manufacturer and Gaming company in the world by then. Nokia saw a business opportunity in combining the two use cases in one device. The result was the Nokia N-gage. The company thereby set there first steps into the growing gaming market and wanted to seriously compete with Nintendo.

Around the time the original N-gage launched, Nintendo introduced their Gameboy Advance. Their long waited successor to the popular, but outdated, Gameboy Colour. Although the N-gage was more powerful than the gameboy Advance, the N-gage lacked good software support and games. As a result the Gameboy Advance was very popular. It sold 81.5 million units. Compared to only 3 million Nokia N-gages.

Improvements of the QD

Setting up the original N-gage was far from intuitive. First of all, you can’t use the N-gage without putting in a sim card. This is not only the fact for calling of texting but also for gaming. You simply can’t get into the operating system without placing a sim card into the tray. This tray is located behind the cover plate, next to the game card slot. So secondly this means that every time you want to switch games, you have to pull of the cover plate, insert a game card and, the cover plate back on the device before you can start up a game. This is time consuming and therefore uninviting to swap games regularly.

The button layout was primarily designed for a phone not being suitable for gaming. Furthermore its resemblance to a taco when used for phone calls, leading to the origin of its mocking “Taco phone” nickname.

Afbeeldingsresultaten voor ngage taco

The redesigned version, N-Gage QD, fixed most of the widely criticized issues and design problems of the original model. It was more sturdy and had the dedicated game card tray acces that the original N-gage should also have had.

There were also less welcome changes compared to the original. he QD lacked MP3 playback, a FM radio and USB-connectivity with a computer, presumably to reduce size and cost. Instead of using the N-Gage with generic USB removable drive drivers, a user could use either Bluetooth or a separate MMC card reader to transfer files onto the device memory or an MMC card for use in the N-Gage QD.

Another change from the original unit was the “Orange-and-grey” theme of the face of the unit as well as the UI. Some people felt this was an unwanted change from the “more colorful” GUI of the original N-Gage. Even then there were some third-party applications that enhanced the interface or replaced the system shell.

As a telephony device, the newer N-Gage no longer supported GSM frequency bands 900/1800/1900; instead it came in two dual-band variants, one for the American market and another for the European and Asian markets.

The only change made to the device’s buttons was the replacement of the original five-way controller (four ordinal directions and a center “click” or confirm) with a simpler four-way directional controller and a separate “OK” button with a check logo.

The QD was running the same software version as its predecessor, despite the newer Symbian 7.0s Series 60 2nd Edition having been shipped on several smartphones by the time the QD was announced.


The momentum was however gone. The QD was unable to restore N-gages already slightly defiled name. The platform was discontinued on November 26, 2005. Almost 3 years after launch. It was the first and also last attempt of Nokia to make a Phone/Handheld hybrid or any dedicated gaming device howsoever.

(bundle with Rayman)
Worth300 euro
Prices299 dollar
Units3 million (N-gage total)
Games released50+
CPUARM920T @ 104 MHz
Display2.1 inch 176×208 pixels

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