Handset manufacturers and mobile and mobile operating system makers are pushing to get phones to market faster and address enterprise needs.
At the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France, handset maker Nokia Corp., of Espoo, Finland, last week showcased the latest version of its Series 60 smart-phone platform, with new features targeted for the enterprise.
Version 3.0 of Nokias Series 60, which runs on the latest version of Symbian Ltd.s Symbian OS, brings a new security framework to better protect business data and provide a more secure application development environment, said officials. The upgraded platform improves business-focused features such as the calendar, synchronization and device management. For mobile operators, the platform offers new customization capabilities.
The platform is slated to be available to licensees in mid-2005, and the first smart phones are expected to debut later this year, said officials.
As part of its push to woo enterprise users, Nokia announced at the show that it has licensed rival Microsoft Corp.s Exchange Server ActiveSync protocol to enable synchronization with future Nokia enterprise mobile devices.
Of the new smart phones Nokia launched at the European show, only two are expected to hit the U.S. market. The 6682, Nokias North American version of its new 6681 model for the European market, will include a 1.3-megapixel camera; push-to-talk functionality; and support for EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) networks, for faster download speeds. It will ship in the United States next quarter.
Nokia also launched a new flip phone, the 6101, with a built-in VGA camera and push-to-talk capability. The 6101 will ship in Europe next quarter, with U.S. availability expected thereafter.
Microsoft, for its part, announced plans to develop Windows Mobile-based devices with Singapore-based device manufacturer Flextronics Corp. At the show, the duo unveiled a Windows Mobile-based platform that will run on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) networks. The platform, code-named Peabody, is designed to provide OEMs with a low-cost phone that can be brought to market quickly in large volumes, said company officials in Redmond, Wash.
PalmSource Inc., meanwhile, teamed up with Group Sense PDA Ltd. to roll out a smart phone running on the Palm Garnet operating system. The Xplore M68 includes Bluetooth connectivity, multimedia features and a 1.3-megapixel camera.