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Nokia has pushed back the release of its flagship music phone, the N91, till mid-year, due in part to ongoing negotiations about digital rights management.

News site Moconews reported that Nokia director Pekka Pohjakallio said the phone could be delayed as far as the third quarter, and that “adding Windows DRM was the primary cause of the slip”.

However, Louise Ingram, corporate communications manager of Nokia Australia said that they were “still on track to release the phone by mid-year”.

“While we are close to finalising arrangements with our customers, Nokia Australia has yet to make an announcement on when the N91 will be available in Australia.  It will be sometime during this half”, Ingram said.

Problems reportedly stem from Symtella, a Symbian P2P client, which enables users to share music and other files.

But, Nokia’s site has no mention of being able to share music, but instead users can “send and receive images, video clips, graphics, and business cards via Bluetooth technology”

Ingram wasn’t aware of any specific problems with file sharing on the N91, but said DRM had been an issue since last year. She said getting local standards approval had been a issue due to the complexity of the device, and that there was a possibility of making other features, such as file sharing, available by software download.

Ingram said she didn’t believe a delayed launch would affect sales of N91s: “Not at all. Nokia sold 46.3 million portable music handsets last year, and it is our flagship. They’re great mobile phones”.

Pricing will be announced closer to release, but as a premium handset it is expected to retail for over $1000.

The N91 is Nokia’s “music jukebox” with a 4GB hard drive, Symbian OS, support for most music formats including WMA DRM, FM radio, wireless LAN, and comes with a 3.5mm headphone output.

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