A moderator over on Vodafone Ireland's official forums -- seemingly in an effort to be as helpful as possible -- responded to a question about Nokia N97 availability this week by saying "Vodafone Ireland will not be launching the N97 but will be launching the N97 Mini later this year." He goes on to say that the carrier feels that the N97 Mini's "competitive pricing" will make it appeal to a broader range of customers. Of course, there is no N97 Mini, which inevitably leads us to one of two conclusions: either he's very, very confused, or he just outed a new phone before his employer or Nokia would've liked. For what it's worth, "N97 Mini" would stray well outside the bounds of normal Nokia naming convention, though we could definitely see a smaller version of the phone working with a tighter keyboard and a more 5800-ish display -- and the moderator's post was pulled later in the day, lending credence to the story. On the other hand, the same dude said a few days back that "we don't have a release data as of yet, but watch this space" in reference to the original N97, so it's anybody's guess what's going on here. Tiny touchscreen Nokia, anyone?

[Via IntoMobile]