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Nokia and Borland team up on mobile platforms

Nokia has announced that it will work with US-based development tools maker Borland on two mobile developer platforms.

The alliance is part of a larger move by mobile manufacturers to boost their software development expertise for delivering high-speed wireless voice and data services.

The deal comes as wireless technologies such as GPRS and 3G services are being deployed in the US. AT&T Wireless, Sprint and Verizon Communications are set to launch 3G services before the end of 2001.

Borland's Java development environments, JBuilder and JBuilder MobileSet, will include support for Nokia Series 60 Platform, while Borland's C++ environment will work with Nokia's Symbian operating system-based platform in the first half of 2002.

The Borland deal appears to be a carbon copy of what Palm managed to do when it created the so-called Palm Economy. Palm's strategy was to help the development community write compelling applications for its device.

"Handset manufacturers are going to take on PDAs," said Phil Redman, research director at analyst firm Gartner, who added that handsets are becoming wireless PDAs.

Nokia set the stage for the announcement at Comdex when it launched its open mobile architecture.

The initiative seeks to bring together many of the major handset makers and mobile phone operators including Motorola, Siemens, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone.

Java and the Java development tools from companies such as Borland may be the key to creating a true, interoperable standard between handheld devices. The Symbian operating system used by Nokia and other handset makers is Java-enabled, while Microsoft's rival Pocket PC operating system is not.

"People think Java is a browser or an operating system. But no, it is an application-development environment that will work on any Java-enabled device," Redman said.

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