Nokia Unveils Multimedia Phones With Open-Source Browsing

Nokia yesterday launched three multimedia smartphones and a new version of its open-source browser in effort to build on its position as top mobile phone maker. The new phones allow users to watch TV, play music, and trade files with other electronic devices.

“We are seeing increased interest in advanced functionality on mobile devices, particularly mobile video,” Jupiter Research Analyst Michael Gartenberg told TechNewsWorld. “What it comes down to is making sure that these secondary functions don’t interfere with the primary function of the phone, namely voice communication.”

TV Goes Mobile

The Nokia N92 is the first integrated DVB-H mobile device in the Nokia Nseries range for watching broadcast TV programs. DVB-H technology enables the TV service you are familiar with at home to be broadcast to your mobile device.

Users can set reminders to watch their favorite TV programs, create personal channel lists and subscribe to TV channel packages. The new form factor features a 2.8-inch anti-glare screen with 16 million colors.

“We are confident that mobile TV will be an exciting new service for consumers, as well as generate new opportunities for innovation and growth in the mobile and media industries,” said Richard Sharp, vice president of Rich Media at Nokia.

The cellular connectivity means people can interact with the TV through services such as voting and program feedback. The Nokia N92 is also an XpressMusic device, with FM radio and up to 2 GB memory card support, offering storage for up to 1,500 songs delivered through the built-in stereo speakers or a stereo headset. Additional Nseries features include 2 megapixel camera for print-quality photos and e-mail attachment support.

“We are seeing this whole new generation of devices coming to market that are really good telephony devices, but can also offer some of this new hyperfunctionality,” Gartenberg said. “The notion of watching TV in a mobile setting is definitely up there in terms of consumer interest.”

Meanwhile, the Nokia N71 features a 2.4-inch display billed as a “pocketable entertainment system.” The Nokia N71 features digital music, videos and FM radio capabilities as part of the Nokia XpressMusic family. The phone also includes a 2 megapixel camera.

Finally, the Nokia N80 comes to market to allow home media networking between compatible TVs, audio systems and PCs with wireless LAN speeds. The phone also includes a 3 megapixel camera, a digital music player, and stereo FM.

Multimedia to Go

All three new Nokia smartphones use the third edition of the S60 Web browser, based on WebCore and JavaScriptCore components of Apple’s Safari Web kit, an open-source full Web rendering engine for mobile devices.

Heikki Heinaro, vice president of S60 Applications for Nokia Technology Platforms, said the company’s studies of S60 smartphone users show two clear trends: browsing is generating over 60 percent of data traffic, and the improved network performance of WCDMA/3G more than doubles the browser usage compared to GPRS/EDGE, offering increased revenue potential for operator.

“Nokia’s approach to browsing on smartphones in the 3G era is to offer a premium solution for content discovery and download, with equal access both to Web sites on the Internet and mobile optimized content,” Heinaro said. “The new Web browser is poised to make Web browsing fast, intuitive, and more enjoyable for both consumers and enterprise users.”

Nokia said the third edition allows it to achieve major improvements in Web site usability on smartphones, including preserving the original page layout, pop-up blocking, visual history and text search.

“Browsing is a secondary feature that is very important on today’s modern devices, but no one wants to spend the time and effort to reinvent the browsing experience when there are already great solutions on the market,” Gartenberg said. “Nokia is using a best-of-breed browser without the expense of having to build it all themselves.”

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