Nokia N97 IS the latest N-Gage handset

Not that you'd know it from the blurb

Nokia N97 IS the latest N-Gage handset

Nokia took the wrappers off its latest Nseries handset this morning, during its Nokia World conference.

It's the first Nseries device to have a QWERTY keyboard, with a 3.5-inch tilting touchscreen thrown in for good measure.

Nokia is making a big fuss about its 'social location' features (or 'So-Lo', as they call it), tying in your location with your social networking sites.

It's got a five-megapixel camera, 32GB of memory, works with the Nokia Music Store, and supports Nokia's Share on Ovi UGC service, as well as the Maps on Ovi service, and the new Mail on Ovi and Nokia Messaging techs.

And games? They get a single mention in the press release, relegated behind streaming Flash videos in the list of desirable features.

You have to go to this PDF Data Sheet on the Nokia World website and look in the bottom left corner to see a line of text saying "World class game titles with N-Gage" to twig that, yes, it is an N-Gage handset.

Nobody doubts the commitment of Nokia's games teams to N-Gage in 2009, but you have to ask yourself whether that commitment is shared higher up the company, based on this evidence.

On the positive side, the N97 is going to be a hugely anticipated handset in the first half of 2009, that could put N-Gage into the hands of millions more consumers by stealth.

We just wonder where the platform stands in the company's wider priorities.