(STAR) By Kathy Moran - RAINING IT WAS, AND STAR-LESS was the night sky on the special Nseries launch Nokia held recently. They came in droves, lovers of cellphones all, to see what new surprises Nokia held closely to its heart, and away from our prying eyes and ears. Dark and cold, really cold, was the PICC Forum. The perfect setting for the big surprises that Nokia was to unveil that night.

And a big night it was as Nokia had chosen Manila for this year’s regional launch of its "highest-techie" phones thus far.

Over 50 journalists from nine countries in the Asia-Pacific region were holding their collective breaths as they whispered to each other their guesses of what lay behind the black curtain that separated us and the newest Nokia cellphones of desire. We listened to the band playing in the background, a cool accompaniment as cocktails, wine and champagne flowed freely.

"Mabuhay. A greeting in Filipino that means welcome and have fun," said Parikshit Bhasin, country general manager, Nokia Philippines. "Nokia tonight encourages you to explore your passions as you discover what we have in store for you."

Cocktails flowed into dinner.

And then, just after coffee, it happened.

"Nokia Nseries multimedia computers represent the next leap forward in personal computing," said Jose-Luis Martinez, vice president, Multimedia Asia Pacific, Nokia. "In particular, the Nokia N95 is the evolution of what computers have now become; pocketable devices with the power to connect you to the information, services, content and other people you want when it suits your needs. This is the fastest growing segment in the mobile space and this year alone, we have already sold more than 10 million Nokia Nseries multimedia computers."

Nokia’s new devices and experiences showed how the boundaries are blurring between the Internet world, mobility and the consumer electronics industry.


The new Nokia Nseries multimedia computers showcase the high-performance multi-media experience that becomes possible when you combine connectivity with cutting-edge mobile technology.

Martinez pulled out an N95 from his pocket and raised it for all to see.

What a phone.

Imagine. The N95 is an all-in-one multimedia computer with a pioneering dual slide concept, integrated GPS functionality, a five-megapixel camera and support for high-speed mobile networks, making it easier to watch and record videos, listen to songs, take high-quality photos, browse the Internet, or catch up on e-mail while on the move.

"But it’s not just about having a powerful device in your pocket. We are also creating unique experiences that enable people to connect to their passions and take their passions with them wherever they go," Martinez added.

We got to explore our newest passions, too, at the Open Studio which Nokia had put up. It was situated behind the last black curtain we would enter for the night.

The studio was great. All the phones were within hands’ reach and these were working units, mind you.

"The Nokia N95 brings a range of multimedia features together, such as a fantastic display, outstanding photo and video capability and high-speed connectivity, making it an excellent multimedia computer," said Martinez. "This single device – which fits easily in your pocket – can replace stand-alone devices that you no longer need to carry individually, whether it’s your music player, your digital camera, PDA or navigation device. Most importantly, the Nokia N95 is with you and connected when you want to use it."

I held the N95. Light, compact and easy-slide are some of the sensations I experienced. I flipped, slid and pressed every button I could get my hands on. I felt the future of cellphones right there. With Nokia the surprises are always an experience of the future.

The two-way slide concept makes it easy to switch between different modes, going from one function to watching a video with a simple slide. A numeric keypad slides out from one end of the device while dedicated media keys slide out from the opposite direction, converting the display into full-screen landscape mode. With powerful 3D graphics, the Nokia N95 has a stunning user interface that makes it intuitive to find the features and services you want.

N95 owners can locate interesting points of interests and find their way using the integrated GPS feature.

With the Carl Zeiss optics on the five-megapixel camera, you can capture print quality photos and DVD-like quality video clips. Photos and video clips can be enjoyed on a compatible television, thanks to the device’s TV out feature and support for Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) technology.

Designed for High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) networks and with support for WLAN, EDGE and WCDMA networks, the Nokia N95 provides excellent coverage and speeds wherever you may be. In HSDPA networks, browsing the Internet, reading e-mail, streaming video and downloading large files can be carried out up to 10 times faster than with 3G.

The Nokia N95 also offers a first-class entertainment experience with the combination of a large 2.6" QVGA 16 million color display, impressive 3D graphics, built-in stereo speakers offering a 3D stereo effect, standard 3.5 mm audio jack, support for compatible microSD cards and mini USB for convenient data transfer.

Browsing the Internet on the Nokia N95 is a pleasure using the Nokia Web Browser with Mini Map, with new features such as a floating toolbar, password manager and auto complete, as well as Web feeds with support for Atom and auto update.

And then there was more.

Nokia unveiled three upgraded Nokia Nseries multimedia computers – the Nokia N70 and Nokia N73 music editions, and the Nokia N91 8GB. The Music Range combines sleek black design with heightened mobile music experiences appealing to the music enthusiast in everyone. Key benefits include dedicated music access keys, Nokia PC Suite and new software for easy sync and music management, and additional storage capacity – with an 8GB hard drive, the Nokia N91 8GB is a fully loaded music machine.

Because multimedia computers have a programmable operating system, people can download and install software applications. Unlike mobile phones, this means people can add features and applications to their multimedia computers without having to buy a new device.

The little booths which housed the Nokia N70 and Nokia N73 music editions, and the Nokia N91 8GB for the event were rocking with music as we approached them. The sleek black design with heightened mobile music experiences appealed to the music enthusiasts there.

"Music is an essential part of our daily lives and it has the power to evoke memories and emotions," said Ako Shiraogawa, director, Multimedia Computers, Nokia Asia-Pacific. "With our new Nokia Nseries Music Range, we hope to enhance those personal experiences and make them even more special. For instance, you can receive recommendations from independent music experts with the Music Recommenders service, add song after song, thanks to additional memory capacity, and easily manage and synchronize your favorite tunes with your mobile device. These benefits and many more make our new Music Range the best in class for mobile music experiences."

Whether you’re sitting on the bus, walking down the street, or working on that story at crunch time, you can listen to your music more conveniently. Your favorite tunes are only one touch away with dedicated music access keys. Managing your music is further simplified with the integrated music player. From the music menu you can build and edit playlists on the fly. It’s also a breeze to rip your CDs, synchronize them with your device, and start grooving on the go with the Nokia Music Manager.

The Nokia N70 Music Edition, Nokia N73 Music Edition and Nokia N91 8GB have more memory for all those have-to-have songs, with up to 1GB, 2GB and 8GB, respectively. With support for the two most popular music formats worldwide, MP3 and AAC, no song will go unheard. For enhanced sound quality you can use a compatible high-quality headphone with the standard 3.5mm stereo headset plug.

With Internet connectivity you can enjoy high quality music on the go. You can easily access the latest news on your favorite artists, buy upcoming tickets, and hear the latest tracks – all at your fingertips.

And then it hit me, Nokia kept the stars hidden in PICC Forum for the night.

I got to touch them.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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