SAN JOSE, Calif. — Nokia Corp.'s first phone capable of receiving mobile broadcast TV, the N92, employs a novel industrial design using a hinged, 2.8-inch display that lets the device sit on a table like a portable DVD player or twist into an LCD viewfinder like a handheld video camera.
While the design appears compelling, the launch underscores the still uncertain rollout for mobile broadcast TV. The N92 will be available in mid-2006 for Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld (DVB-H) frequencies used in Europe. However, no service providers announced they will use the phone.
Switzerland and Italy have announced they will roll out DVB-H services in 2006. In Europe, however, TV stations, not cellular providers, hold most of the spectrum needed for DVB-H.
Crown Castle in the U.S. is expected to roll out one of the first large scale DVB-H services sometime next year. Nokia is “looking into” designing a version of the N92 for the US DVB-H frequencies.
Juha Lipiainen, a director for multimedia strategy and business development at Nokia, said the company is not ready to disclose its plans for how many mobile-TV phones it will release.
"Mobile TV is so new we don’t have a sense of how users will adopt it,” said Lipiainen in a telephone interview from Barcelona, Spain, where the TV phone was officially launched.
“We are taking the same view of mobile TV as we did the camera, e-mail and SMS. We intend to implant it in different products over time. The issue is how to economically encapsulate the mobile TV capability in hardware,” he added.
The N92 has a 2.8-inch color display that sports a TV-like 4:3 aspect ration and supports 16 million colors. It can handle 15 frames/second at QVGA resolution or 30 frames/s at QCIF resolution.
The phone offers four hours of watch or call time based on a 1,500-milliW lithium polymer battery. It automatically detects TV channels and keys them to user friendly hot buttons
Among other multimedia features, the N92 includes a 2-megapixel camera with still and video modes. It also includes an FM tuner and MP3 player and has stereo speakers and 3D audio support.
The dual-band Edge and wideband CDMA phone has a maximum data rate of 384 Kbits/s over its 2,100 GHz WCDMA link. It also builds in 802.11g, USB 2.0, Bluetooth and infrared communications.
The N92 includes up to 90 Mbytes of internal memory and supports flash cards of up to 2 Gbytes. The devices measures 107.4 by 58.2 by 24.8 mm and weighs 191 grams.
"Having this kind of complexity in a very small footprint creates an electrical environment that is very challenging," said Lipiainen.