The Nokia N-Gage was one of mobile gaming’s first major failures. While there were big studios supporting the platform — Sega, THQ, EA and Activision to name a few — Nokia’s rudimentary design failed to make an impact on the market. Still, the N-Gage eventually received a sequel device in 2004 known as the QD. This improved many of the major complaints with the original N-Gage, but its failure to sell meant the N-Gage line ‘officially’ died with the device.
Unofficially, it turns out a QD successor was in the works at Nokia before the company pulled the plug.
In a recent AtariAge forum post, collector derSammler revealed they’d recently stumbled across a previously unannounced successor to the Nokia N-Gage QD which sports a whole bunch of new and improved features.
The console appears to have been assembled in late 2004 (the QD was released in May that year) and includes changes like a USB port and a camera. It also runs an upgraded version of the Symbian operating system, and owner derSammler speculates the CPU is slightly faster than the original.
derSammler doesn’t reveal how they got their hands on the prototype, but a more detailed report on the console and its acquisition is currently in the works.
“First-hand information from the person who designed this unit’s pcb (and many other’s) at Nokia Germany, Bochum is being prepared,” derSammler said in a recent update. “May take a week or two before it’s ready, but it will be worth the waiting.”
It really is a fascinating find, and one that reveals more about Nokia’s confidence in the N-Gage and its slate of games. It really was a console ahead of its time and whiles sales nuked its potential, it’s wild to think we could have seen more from the N-Gage line before the end.
With titles like Crash Nitro Kart, Tomb Raider, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, The Sims and even an Elder Scrolls game on the platform, the N-Gage really was bursting with fresh ideas — and while it didn’t quite kick off a handheld gaming revolution, it has an important legacy in the modern gaming world.
In another universe, the Nokia N-Gage became a roaring success and the unnamed QD sequel was a smash hit with fans. In this one, it’s just a lone prototype, and we’ll never see what its future could have been.