Nokia recently announced that they will no longer be developing new versions of the N-Gage gaming phone. The company says it plans to hold off on mobile gaming for a couple of years, concentrating instead on mobile music and video.
The N-Gage was released in October 2003, to a virtual torrent of press hype. Nokia blasted the media with "in-your-face" advertising featuring "extreme" skateboarding types, and even stooped to viral marketing to try and create a favorable buzz about the product. However, many gamers were insulted by the advertising, particularly by statements from Nokia spokespeople about how Game Boys weren't "cool" to anyone over a certain age. The viral marketing generated similar negative reactions.
But what really sank the N-Gage was the product itself. In its initial release, gamers had to remove the battery every time they wanted to change games, and were required to hold the phone sideways in order to use it as an actual phone. The latter design flaw created a hilarious new Internet meme called Side Talkin'.
A revised unit, the N-Gage QD, was released in 2004, fixing the battery and side-talking design flaws, but sales still failed to live up to Nokia's expectations. The company sold only two million N-Gages (both original and QD) in three years, compared to predictions of six million. Nokia plans to still produce limited quantities of the product for the Chinese and Indian markets.