Reaching the Next Billion

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2011-10-27 Print this article Print


These new feature phones will help Nokia reach out to that "next billion," Elop said. "We think the next billion is a really young crowd. ... Our focus, particularly in emerging markets, is to bridge the digital divide through mobile devices," he said.

Elop said the new Asha phones blur the lines between feature phones and smartphones.

Yet, with these new devices, "We can bridge the digital divide and bring data to people who never had it before," said Blanca Juti, vice president of product marketing for mobile phones at Nokia.

IDC analyst Al Hilwa, in attendance at Nokia World, raised the irony of Nokia announcing a new set of phones based on its Series 40 operating system-which supports Java-at the same event it unveiled its first Windows phones.

"That's sort of like the old Java versus .NET battle all over again," Hilwa said jokingly. "The apps on the Asha phones will be Java-based, while developers will be using Visual Studio and .NET related technology to build apps for Nokia's Windows Phone-based devices."

Meanwhile, with an aim to continuously improve its location-based offerings, Nokia showcased the latest versions of Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive for Windows Phone. These and other map-related applications introduced at Nokia World aim to make Nokia Maps relevant for commuters and to find interesting places in the city where people live, Nokia officials said. In addition to its world-class, free walk-and-drive navigation for more than 100 countries worldwide, the Nokia Public Transport application tracks public transportation directly on a mobile device in more than 430 cities worldwide, including up-to-the-minute updates on bus and train routes for 45 cities.

Nokia also introduced Nokia Pulse, which allows location-tagged updates and photos to be sent privately, adding location to conversations with the people who matter most.

In addition, Nokia showcased Nokia Live View, which turns the phone's camera view finder into a reality augmenting tool. With Nokia Live View, a phone can be pointed to a building or street and their names become superimposed over them, offering one-click access to detailed information about businesses, restaurants or attractions.

All the applications announced today are available at Nokia's Beta Labs.

Nokia also announced that Nokia Maps is now powering Yahoo Maps, starting with the United States and Canada. In addition, the company announced an agreement with the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority to develop a near field communications (NFC)-based smartphone ticketing solution to pilot on New York regional commuter trains starting before the end of 2011.



Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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