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    Tools for the transition era

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    Nokia dragged a collection of journalists over to Helsinki for some midnight sun and games and to talk new products and services, at its annual Connections event, this year run in, er,  connection with the Communicasia exhibition and conference in Singapore.

    Framing the whole series of launches, new Executive vp of the Networks division, Simon Beresford-Wylie, said that the industry as a whole is in a series of transition, with convergence, IP and the take-up of WCDMA being the main drivers. He said that to combat these threats operators needed to be “exceptionally agile and efficient.”
    So, of course, do their suppliers, so what has Nokia delivered that will help it and its customers step up to this new era of transition.
    First up was a convergent billing product, really a way of combining all Nokia’s existing products into one charging framework. Convergent billing for applications has been a big earner for Alcatel in the past 18 months, and the market needed the other major vendor across infrastructure, applications and handsets to follow suit.
    There was also a nod towards the increased importance of service delivery, with the Nokia Service Delivery Framework. As with the charging framework, the emphasis is on being able to reduce the opex overhead of running a whole load of different, legacy systems.
    Beresford-Wylie also pointed out that Nokia has recruited heavily in the area of services from the IT world, with around one third of its headcount in the Networks business group now working in services rather than products.
    Other launches at and around the event included:
    l Enterprise: Intelligent call routing between an IP PBX and mobile devices. Partnerships with Cisco, OnRelay and IBM. Nokia will license Cisco technology to integrate dual-mode Nokia Series 60 devices to Cisco CallManager over WiFi. The solution will be available on coming dual-mode devices to be announced later. Nokia has also agreed to co-market OnRelay’s MBX solution, which is commercially available for existing Nokia Series 60 devices, and to also make it available on future generations of Nokia enterprise devices. OnRelay’s MBX provides cellular-only (GSM/3G) extensions and rich voice services to  IP and legacy PBX’s. IBM will be working as a systems integrator to provide these hybrid solutions to enterprise customers.
    l Networks: now with WiMax. Nokia has said it will add WiMax to its radio access portfolio, based on the WiMAX IEEE 802.16e version, which is expected to be standardised later this year. The company will work with Intel for device platforms as well as on base station processing strategies, as well as working jointly in market development to demonstrate the enhanced data service capabilities of WiMAX as a complement to 3G networks.
    l New browser and application platform for Series 60 and 40 phones. The third edition of Nokia’s Series 40 platform, its mid-range platform for phones and devices, enables richer multimedia applications and services for the vendor’s Java phones. It brings streaming to the mass market, Nokia said, whilst letting Java developers access MIDP 2.0, CLDC 1.1 and OMA DRM.. The new Series 40 Platform 3rd edition is a full hardware, software and Application Programming Interface architecture the provides support for streaming media, multiple screen sizes and resolutions and more Application Programming Interface (API) support for Java.
    The new Series 60 browser will be based on the same components tat go into Apple’s Safari browser — WebCore and JavaScriptCore. Nokia says using open source components will aid developers, as well as allowing it to optimise the browser to mobile networks.
    l Last and not least – seven new phones. New phones included four slide phones, two clamshell and one traditional Nokia “monoblock”. All phones are expected to begin shipping in the second half of 2005.
    The 6280 is a 3G slide phone (equipped with both a 2-megapixel and a VGA camera) is marketed as “an ideal platform for 3G services such as real time video sharing and two way video calls.” The phone has a miniSD memory card and Bluetooth.
    The 6270 is a quadband (850/900/1800/1900 ) slide phone  with an integrated email client that supports attachments. A built-in music player supports a variety of digital sound formats such as MP3 and AAC.  A visual radio client rounds out the audio capabilities of the phone.  
    The 6111 is small, another slide  one with a 1-megapixel camera. The phone has Push to talk functionality and Nokia Xpress audio messaging.
    The 6265 is a CDMA phone.
    The 6060 is one of two folding phones.The dualband GSM 900/1800 or GSM 850/1900 has an estimated retail price of 140EUR before subsidies.
    The 2255 is the second folding phone, this time aimed at an entry-level price point. The phone still has a 64K color display with user selectable ‘themes’, downloadable MIDI ringtones and even an integrated FM radio.  fourth quarter of 2005.
    The 2125 is another “entry-level” phone, with a metallic trim. The 2125 also boasts a number of features such as voice dialing, voice commands and voice recording, calculator, calendar, alarm clock, and an extensive phonebook supporting multiple entries.