Yes, the N97 Mini exists. No, we have no idea why.

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Hey! Have you read our review of the Nokia N97? Do you remember that part where we said “Man! If only they would rerelease this phone slightly smaller a year later, it’d be perfect!”. If you don’t remember that, or if you didn’t read the review, we’ll save you some time: We didn’t say that, because that would be dumb as hell.

Nokia disagrees, apparently. When the picture above originally leaked, we chalked it off as a canned product or a prototype. Since then, Eldar Murtazin of Russia’s well-respected Mobile-review claims that the N97 Mini is as real as can be, and will be announced at Nokia World next month. For the most part, the changes are all visible upfront: it’s (slightly) smaller, they’ve ditched the D-pad, taken the display down to 2.9″ (from 3.5″), and lopped the lens cover off the camera. For the sacrifice, you’ll purportedly save 100 EUR ($143) off the cost of ownership.

Best of all, the same source indicates that the leak was intentional; Nokia got wind that a competitor was planning a “Mini” version of something, so some of the engineers let this one slip to try to spook them off. Erm, okay.

For Nokia’s sake, we’re really hoping that this isn’t the only thing they’ve got in store for Nokia World.
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