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Nokia ties up with Facebook to take on Google

Ian Grant

Nokia today took on Google's Latitude location-based application with a service that will let Nokia smartphone users update their Facebook accounts with location and status details on the fly.

The new service, which is called Lifecasting, will be offered via Nokia's Ovi platform.

See photos: Nokia rocks our World with X3, X6 and the Booklet

Announcing the deal at Nokia World in Stuttgart, Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said Nokia aimed to reach "the many, not the few" through more open partnerships with world leaders in different fields.

The aim was to change how people connect with each other, he said.

Lifecasting with Ovi lets people publish their location using Ovi Maps, and update their availability status directly to their Facebook account from the home screen of a mobile device, Nokia said.

This is essentially what Google Latitude allows someone to do with a PC.

"Lifecasting is about building deeper and closer connections between people. It triggers new kinds of communication patterns, such as sending messages or status updates or even navigating to a friend or a place," it said.

Lifecasting will premiere in October on the new Nokia N97 mini, a companion to the Nokia N97 launched earlier this year. Smaller that the Nokia N97, the mini has a stainless steel case, a tilting 3.2" touch display, qwerty keyboard and customisable homescreen.

Nokia has also signed up premium content from Lonely Planet, Michelin and Wcities for the Nokia N97 mini in an effort to make it the world's smallest travel companion.

The Nokia N97 mini features new software which will be released in October as a free update for the Nokia N97. The new software includes support for new homescreen widgets and usability improvements including flick scrolling.

The announcements follow Nokia's launch last week of:

  • Nokia Money, a mobile banking system aimed at mobile phone users who don't have bank accounts
  • the Nokia N900, a Linux/Maemo-based tablet device
  • the Nokia Booklet 3G, a Windows netbook, and
  • the Nokia 5230 and Nokia 5800 Navigation Edition touchscreen smartphones, which are optimised for media downloads.

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