Nokia unveils new mobile services

Finnish phone maker introduces services and handsets that let mobile users blog hassle-free and navigate routes on-the-go.
Written by Lynn Tan @ Redhat, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Nokia has introduced two new services that aim to let mobile users blog hassle-free, as well as explore and navigate routes whilst they travel.

The Finnish phone maker on Monday announced it has partnered blog company Six Apart to integrate Vox--a free personal blogging service--in Nokia's N-series multimedia phones, as well as Singapore-based GIS maker (geographic information system) Agis to introduce a location-based service via the Asia Maps application.

Users of compatible N-series handsets such as the Nokia N93i, which was also launched on Monday, can upload videos and photos, as well as update their blogs directly from their devices to the Vox blogging service, according to Nokia.

Video and photo files will be hosted on Vox's site, but users can also post the content on popular blog and Web 2.0 sites, such as Google's blogger service and MySpace, by copying the URL of the media content and inserting it into the blog entry, said Jawahar Kanjilal, director of rich media, music and games business programs at Nokia Multimedia Asia Pacific.

However, this works only if the secondary site supports such content, Kanjulal told ZDNet Asia.

Search and locate
Users of Nokia's N95 mobile phone--expected to be available in the first quarter of this year--will be able to use Asia Maps in a range of countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Through Agis' Asia Maps application, users can view detailed maps of major cities in the six countries on their N95 handset, search for locations or points of interest, activate GPS (global positioning system) for turn-by-turn navigation guide, plan routes and bookmark favorite destinations for easy reference, according to Nokia.

In addition, N95 users can use the turn-by-turn voice navigation feature at no charge for up to 60 days after the service is first activated.

Keith Liu, head of games and Internet experiences at Nokia Multimedia Asia Pacific, said "more cities will be introduced through the application" in the coming months.

Liu added that Asia Maps also provides users "the ability to request for points of interest around any given point on the map".

"Even if you are familiar with a city, you may not know how many restaurants there are around your current location, and what kinds of cuisine they serve," he said. "With Asia Maps, a simple query can produce this result, giving you a more varied experience in the city that you're in."

Kanjilal also noted that "most people in Asia will have their first [route] navigation experience more likely on the mobile phone than any other portable device".

N-series duo release
Nokia also launched the latest members of its N-series family. Dubbed Nokia N93i and Nokia N76, both handsets are 3G-enabled and run on Symbian and Nokia's third edition Series 60 software platform. The new devices are equipped with 16 million-color 2.4-inch displays and microSD memory expansion.

Measuring 106.5mm (length) by 52mm (width) by 13.7mm (height), the N76 is a clamshell mobile that Nokia is also marketing as an easy-to-use portable media player. The phone supports Bluetooth and USB 2.0 connectivity and features dual-displays, dedicated buttons for quick access to the device's musical functions and an industry-standard 3.5mm headset jack.

The N76 is one of the first Nokia devices to come pre-loaded with games developed by CELL, a Japanese Flash-based games developer. The phone is pre-loaded with five mini games, each taking up no more than 20kb of file space. Users have the option to purchase additional games online via the Catalog application in the phone's menu.

The company's flagship N93i--weighing 163g--features Wi-Fi connectivity and can capture DVD-quality MPEG-4 movies at 30 frames per second via its 3.2-megapixel Carl Zeiss lens.

According to Nokia, the N93i also features on-device media editing functions, TV-out connectivity and comes bundled with Adobe's Premier Element's 3.0 video editing application.

ZDNet Asia's Farihan Bahrin contributed to this report. Farihan is a freelance IT writer based in Singapore.

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