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Neonode N2

 Neonode N2 Expected Spring 2007
14th February 2007

Neonode is a Swedish manufacturer of mobile phones, and the Neonode N2 is their latest - indeed only current - offering. 

The Neonode N2 is an ultra compact touchscreen phone. Although the N2 weighs only 70 grams, it comes with a 2.0" 176x220 pixel display, 2 megapixel camera, miniSD memory expansion, a multimedia player capable of playing back MP3, AAC and WAV audio plus MPEG4 and WMV video files plus Bluetooth. The N2 is a quad band GSM 850/900/1800/1900 device. 

Although the Neonode N2 is immediately appealing, there are a few drawbacks. It's a fixed focus camera, which limits it somewhat, the display would have been nice if it was 240x320 pixels, Bluetooth appears to be mono only (although wired headphones can be used for stereo audio) and there's no EDGE or 3G support. But remember that the Neonode N2 weighs only about 70 grams, making it one of the lightest handsets on the market.. and at 77 x 47 x 15mm, it's also one of the most compact. It certainly does pack in a lot of features for such a small device. 

 Neonode N2 Underneath the Neonode N2's attractive surface there are some interesting things going on. Neonode have created an open and extensible operating system on the N2, so users can develop their own applications and the phone's software can be upgraded as necessary. We're not sure if this is a custom operating system or not, but the Neonode N1 did run a version of Windows.  

Another interesting feature in the Neonode N2 is called WRR, which stands for "Web Radio Recorder". This allows you to download tracks from internet radio stations to play back later, and cleverly (for the user) it records only music and strips out the speech, and presumably ads. A good deal for consumers.. probably not a good deal for the radio station. To use WRR, you need to connect the N2 up to a PC running the WRR client. 

Although we called the Neonode N2 a touchscreen phone, it isn't really a touchscreen in the conventional sense. Instead,  Neonode vs iPhone the N2 has what Neonode call an "optical grid" of light emitters and sensors. This is the same approach taken with the Neonode N1. 

Neonode themselves make a passing reference to the Apple iPhone when talking about the product and say that Apple and "other manufacturers can see the benefits of the concept and are now following the lead set by Neonode". That sounds a bit cheeky, but Neonode first announced the N1 way back in late 2002 (although it took a further two years to get to market). It is much, much more compact than the iPhone - see the image on the right for a comparison.

We understand that the Neonode N2 will be introduced into Europe during the spring, at a cost before tax and subsidy of around 400/250.

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Neonode N2 at a glance

Available:

Q2 2007

Network:

GSM 850/900/1800/1900

Data:

GPRS

Screen:

176x220 pixels, 65k colours

Camera:

2 megapixels

Size:

Compact PDA-style device
77 x 47 x 15mm / 70 gramss

Bluetooth:

Yes

Memory card:

miniSD

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Not specified

Battery life:

4 hours talk / 8 days standby

 

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