Nokia is delaying the introduction of its 3,000-song-storing N91 music phone until next year.

"We've decided to move the introduction to the first quarter as we have been able to accelerate the deployment of Windows digital rights management into the device," said Kari Tuutti, a spokesman for Nokia.

Waiting for Windows

Nokia had originally planned to launch the N91 for Christmas season with Digital Rights Management (DRM) software from the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), upgrading to the Windows DRM next year. However, the company instead accelerated the inclusion of Windows DRM into the device but won't be able to complete that process until the first quarter, Tuutti said.

The DRM software is important to Nokia because it allows users to download music from more stores than the OMA software allows, he said. Over 50 per cent of online music stores are compatible with the Windows , he said.

Nokia loses the chance to use the N91 to compete during the Christmas season against other handset makers that are featuring music players in their new products. Most notably, Motorola’s iTunes-capable ROKR.

User experience

Nokia thinks it's worth the wait to make the N91 better. "The Christmas season is important but if you look at what is the status of the music entering mobile phones, it's still very early days," Tuutti said.

"We wanted to make sure the first experience is positive so we don't bring a disappointment to first buyers. In that sense, the long term trend is more important than a month or two of sales."

Rob Bamforth, a principal analyst with Quocirca said: "Getting the DRM stuff right is vital for usability, so delaying it to get it right is a good thing."

Nokia has sold 40 million music-capable phones this year, said Tuutti. "But the N91 is the first where we really fine-tuned this end-to-end experience and have optimized the device with a huge mass storage capability," he said.