I'm supposed to be napping, but something told me wake up and check my email. Nokia has announced that the N-Gage isn't going away, but will instead be spread to multiple phones as more of a branding initiative than a device-oriented thing. The next phones that will support N-Gage games should show up in 2006. I'm too tired to give you more, but have a press release after the jump.

Los Angeles, CA - Nokia today unveiled its plans for its evolution of connected mobile gaming, which will make it easy to search for, purchase and play high-quality mobile games using a range of Nokia smartphones. The aim of this next generation of mobile gaming is to expand the N-Gage platform's rich connected multiplayer experience across a wide range of Nokia's multimedia devices.

Based on the impressive processing power available in today's smartphones, Nokia's next generation mobile gaming solution includes enhanced 3D game graphics capability and offers user-friendly search, purchase and installation of high-quality rich games as well as connected gaming with instant access to a global mobile gaming community. Best of all, the solution works with a number of different Nokia smartphones, thus giving consumers the freedom to choose a multimedia device that best suits their individual needs.

"Over the past two years, we've seen the mobile gaming market grow by leaps and bounds both in terms of market interest and customer expectations," said Gerard Wiener, Director and General Manager, Games, Nokia. "With the N-Gage platform, we've been able to deliver a superior gaming experience to mobile gamers, but only on a small range of devices. Now we want to expand rich, connected mobile gaming across the Nokia smartphone range. In 2005, we expect to sell 25 million smartphones and we see the global smartphone market exceeding 250 million devices in 2008. We can continue with our N-Gage offering while helping to drive the adoption of mobile connected gaming at a broader level."

The first Nokia smartphones to support the new Nokia mobile gaming solution are expected to be in the market during the first half of 2006. Additional information on the title launch portfolio is expected to be available in September 2005. The goal is to have a broad spectrum of games to suit all tastes - from casual 'quick fix' gaming to more in-depth multi-user games.

Currently, consumers are often faced with a less than optimal mobile gaming experience, due in part to a lack of consistency. It can be hard to find and install games, game play is frequently disappointing and, therefore, consumer expectations are often not met. Through the expansion of its mobile gaming program, Nokia is providing a complete end-to-end solution, making it easy to find and purchase fully certified games that are built for a broad portfolio of smartphones and deliver on the promise of next generation, 3D connected mobile games.

"Due in part to the advent of the smartphone and the rapid development of other enabling technologies, the industry is now at a turning point where mobile game quality will increase exponentially, providing incredible experiences for consumers and tremendous opportunities for operators, publishers and developers," continues Wiener. "The N-Gage has led this movement to rich mobile games and the next logical step is for us to provide a simple solution based on the N-Gage experience that will deliver a rich, consistent, mobile games offering to millions of smartphones."

"The mobile gaming experience is becoming deeper, more immersive and more exciting. For us, this means that gamers can enjoy their favorite franchise and engage in its community at any time," said John Batter, VP and General Manager of EA Mobile. "Nokia can help us by making great devices that can unlock the potential of a great game."

When consumers buy a Nokia smartphone that supports the new Nokia mobile gaming solution, they gain access to their favorite games through their smartphone or their personal computer. Games have been certified to provide a consistent experience, ensuring a quality rich entertainment experience that consumers can count upon. Consumers can manage their mobile game collection via their PC, with an individual locker of purchased games to make it easy and reliable to track purchases or reinstall deleted games.

For developers, this means less effort spent creating dozens of versions of the same game. We will provide a robust development environment with the first set of tools expected to be available in Q4 2005 and a range of APIs native to the smartphone.

In addition, all mobile games available through this next generation Nokia solution will have advanced connectivity features, making connected mobile gaming easy over mobile networks via the N-Gage Arena, Nokia's global mobile gaming community.

For operators, this solution provides the opportunity to expand their current mobile gaming offering. Nokia is able to offer operators with a modular turnkey solution, including scalable investment options and community management that will assist in driving subscriber revenues.