Nokia goes beyond handsets

CIOL Bureau
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HONG KONG: In a 'night of passion' in Hong Kong, Nokia unveiled the new Communicator 9500 and a multimedia imaging phone, the 7610. But clearly, what everyone at Nokia is currently passionate about is their new revamped strategy.

Starting January 2004, Nokia reorganized its businesses globally under four heads--mobile phones, multimedia, networks and enterprise solutions. The restructuring was in answer to a question Nokia asked itself late last year--has the mobile industry reached a saturation point, or is there room for further growth. The areas of growth that Nokia identified were mobile multimedia and enterprise solutions. And to mark its entry into these areas Nokia announced a slew of products it will be launching over the year.

Topping the list obviously were the two new handsets, but there were also some other products and services ranging from two car kits, an 'activity' handsfree and a mobile fitness monitor on one side, and an image viewer with remote, an image album with 20 GB hard disk space, and a picture blog service.

Also showcased at the event were Nokia's partnerships with HP for printers for its mobile phone cameras, and with Oracle for enterprise solutions. Clearly, Nokia is looking beyond just handsets for the growth in the cut-throat mobile industry, even though it's sitting pretty in a global leading position with an over 38 percent market share.

For enterprise solutions, Nokia will be partnering with solution developers worldwide. In India, for instance, it has already partnered with Wipro and HCL. These solutions will have the backend provided by Nokia and its partners. Symantec will provide security, Oracle, its Collaboration Suite for e-mail, Web conferencing, etc, Fujitsu will provide IT services, IBM its WebSphere Everywhere embedded software, Cisco Wireless LAN, Computer Associates management of mobile devices, SAP, Cap Gemini Ernst and Young, and of course HP for printers.

At the heart of the enterprise solutions is the new 9500 Communicator, the 4th generation in the Communicator series. The 9500 brings 802.11b wireless LAN to a triband GPRS (EDGE) phone and features e-mail, PIM apps, browsing, vertical enterprise applications, and document, spreadsheet and presentation apps on the Symbian 7 platform. Apart from the Communicator, the enterprise solutions may also involve the 6600, 6800, 6820 and 6610, depending on the needs of an organization. Since Symbian is an open standard, Nokia doesn't see any problems in developing solutions for any vertical.

Multimedia is the other area Nokia is eying covetously. Mobile imaging saw a new step forward with Nokia announcing the 7610 with a 1-megapixel camera on it. With a better keypad than that of its predecessor, the 7600, the 7610 also features an on-phone basic video editing, 48-chord polyphonic ringtones, audio and video streaming, MMS, e-mail, Bluetooth and more on the Series 60 platform. The image viewer, HP printer and other products showcased at the event were those compatible with this phone.

The new NGage gaming phone also got a mention, and Nokia promises more games and action in that area.

CyberMedia News

The author was hosted in Hong Kong by Nokia.