Comdex 2001: Nokia pushes mobile standard

Nokia has announced an industry initiative to create an open architecture for mobile services and said it would license its key...

Nokia has announced an industry initiative to create an open architecture for mobile services and said it would license its key software for mobile phones.

Non-proprietary technology has made the Net great and it will do the same for the mobile Internet, said Nokia president and chief executive Jorma Ollila.

"We are supporting an open, non-fragmented architecture. This is how we stimulate innovation and competition," Ollila said in a keynote speech at Comdex on 12 November.

The "open mobile architecture" initiative joins together all major handset manufacturers and the world's largest mobile phone operators, including Motorola, Siemens, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone.

"We wanted to avoid a situation where there would have been perhaps half a dozen different standards in the world," Ollila said. "There would be very small volumes, so you wouldn't have the economies of scale and you wouldn't have the global availability [of services] consumers want."

The supporting companies will develop software that is compliant with specifications of bodies such as the WAP Forum and the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

The software would power services offered on GSM networks with a GPRS add-on, and on forthcoming 3G networks.

A single platform will benefit users and provide an opportunity for developers of mobile applications, Ollila said.

Mobile phone users are willing to pay for calls and text messages, so they will also pay for the mobile Internet, Ollila said, arguing that mobile Internet services will do what fixed services have failed to do: bring in money.

"The fixed line Internet offers only a few business models that generate substantial profits. Mobile can make the Internet a more valid proposition, since the almost one billion users are used to paying for what they want," he said.

Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone handset vendor with a market share of about 35%, will license terminal client components and its smartphone software platform to its rivals.

Earlier on 12 November, Sony announced that it would work with Nokia to develop an open middleware platform for mobile phones and consumer devices to work together. The resulting standard would cover areas such as user interfaces, content downloads, multimedia messages, digital rights management and compatibility when implementing IPv6.

Companies involved in the open mobile architecture initiative include AT&T Wireless Group, MMO2, NTT DoCoMo, Telefonica Moviles, Vodafone, Fujitsu, Matsushita, Mitsubishi, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Samsung, Sharp, Siemens, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Symbian.

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