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The handset was publicly announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 2008, and started shipping in September 2008. Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific are the first locations to provide the handset for consumers. The American and Chinese versions were expected shortly thereafter. The general UK release date for the N96 was 1 October, although London had a separate date of 24 September when the device went on sale exclusively at Nokia's flagship stores on Regent Street and at Terminal 5 (Heathrow airport).
N96 is a dual-band HSDPA (900 and 2100 MHz, while N95 was a single band 2100 MHz)
No need to open the slide for optimal GPS reception
Nokia N96 has VGA front camera (N95 8G has CIF)
Video Flash lightguns
Upgraded Bluetooth stereo audio
FOTA (Firmware Over the Air)
OMA E-mail Notification v1.0
OMA Device Management v1.2
OpenGL ES 1.1 plugin
Dual Transfer Mode (MSC 11)
Support SPP Bluetooth profiles
TV mode - not available
Free sat nav - not available - Nokia advises that it is in the pipeline and they fully expect it to be made available, but will not say when it is available yet
Nokia Music Headset HS-45, AD-54Disposable headset with battery issue. Headset was first introduced with earlier Nokia N-series handsets. Battery life is 3 years. Many users experience limited if any usability before battery renders remote FUNCTION unusable, especially ones packaged with the later Nokia N96. Battery is replaceable, but is highly unrecommended due to access issues, hence the description 'DISPOSABLE'.
Issues are well documented on Nokia Forums, but not easily found.
CPU: N96 has dual ARM9 264 MHz with no floating point instructions (N95 has dual ARM11 332 MHz with vector floating point)
N96 has 8x image digital zoom and 4x video digital zoom (while N95 has 20x digital zoom and 8x video digital zoom). Although the benefits of this is debatable.
Same battery as original N95 (950 mAh), but the N96 reportedly has a much better battery life using the same battery due to software improvements under Feature Pack 2 (Nokia N95 8GB has 1200 mAh)
No hardware 3D graphics accelerator
No infrared port
N95 has lens cover and much more qualitative shutter (N95 8GB/N96 don't have this feature)
No manually selected MMS messaging mode. If you write a long text message it will automatically select the MMS mode which could stop the recipient from receiving the message if they do not have MMS set up on their handset. (A Nokia USA employee stated that there is an update in the works to fix this very soon) It's assumed that this automatic selection of MMS mode is due to Nokia's Smart Connectivity)
VoIP 2.1 support for WLAN and Cellular. However, the built-in VoIP client from N95 which allowed the end-user to make internet calls directly without installing any additional software has been removed from N96. Nevertheless, the VoIP API still exists which can be used by software developers in their applications.
The pencil button that is used to mark/unmark items and highlight text is not included. But this action can still be done however, by pressing and holding down the # key'.