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Nokia N97 Mini and XpressMusic 5530: Mini adventures

Austin Powers’ nemesis, Dr. Evil, needed a suitable heir to the evil empire he created. Disappointed by his not-so-evil biological son, he resorted to cloning a 1:8 scale copy of himself to succeed him. The N97 Mini and the XpressMusic 5530 (pictured) might not be one-eighth the size of their larger N97 and 5800 counterparts, and nor, as far as we’re able to tell, do they come with frickin laser beams attached. They do, however, look set on consolidating Nokia’s postition as the world’s top mobile phones manufacturer.

Pictures of the N97 Mini were leaked this Wednesday, which show that the Mini is roughly 20 percent smaller than the original N97, and the keypad has lost the D-pad. This could be a good thing. One of the main gripes we had about the Nokia N97 was the positioning of some of the keys on the slide out Qwerty. Selecting text for copying and pasting requires a level of dexterity usually exhibited by Rubik’s Cube champions, due to the location of the directional pad on the left hand side of the keypad.

This time round Nokia has relocated four directional keys to the right hand side of the keypad, the same place as you’d expect to find them on a desktop keyboard. We’ve not yet had a hands-on with this, so it’s impossible to say whether this will make for an improvement, but based on our experiences with the N97, we can say that this ought to make for more natural and instinctive typing. No word on price, availability or release dates yet but expect to hear more on this soon.

Yesterday Nokia announced that the 5530, its latest XpressMusic handset, will be made available on the 11th of August. Similar to the 5800, the 5530 boasts a touchscreen but it’s all about music. It features Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for wireless transfer of music files and downloads, built-in stereo speakers similar to the ones found on the Nokia 5800, and can support microSD cards of up to 16GB in size. Unlike the 5800 there’s no 3G, the screen measures 2.9 inches instead of 3.2, and the camera only has one LED flash instead of two.

The reduced specs mean that Nokia can charge a lower asking price for the 5530 and hopefully replicate the success of LG’s low-spec touchscreen phone, the Cookie. The 5530 will cost £130 SIM-free and will be available free on contracts starting at £15 per month.

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