Oslo orders 3,000 Windows Phone handsets

Wanted by Norwegian capital: thousands of Microsoft-powered devices. Long battery life, big screen required.
Written by Stig Øyvann, Contributor

The City of Oslo has recently published an invitation to tender for a general agreement for deliveries of 3,000 smartphones, for the agency that in charge of care of the elderly. Just one snag — all 3,000 have to be Windows Phone devices.

The specifications set out in the invitation to tender, cover much of what you'd expect to see in any call for smartphone bids, but one issue stands out: when it comes to the operating system the devices use, Microsoft Windows Phone 8 is mandatory.

The reason for this somewhat exotic demand is the back-office services the nurses use while providing at-home nursing services to the elderly. The City of Oslo is using the casework and filing system Gerica, developed by the Finnish consulting company Tieto. Tieto has developed just one client interface smartphone app for Gerica, which is for Windows Phone. As a result, the city administration has got no alternatives when it comes to platform choice for the new smartphones.

Big screen, high performance

The specification also reveals that Oslo wants a high-performance mobile: the minimum screen size and resolution is four-inches with a 800x480 resolution. In addition, the invitation to tender specifies that a larger screen and higher resolution will carry greater weight when the tenders are being evaluated.

The CPU has to offer a minimum 1GHz clock speed- again, a higher spec will yield a better score in the evaluation while the devices' battery life needs to be substantial – the specification demands a minimum of eight hours of "extensive use".

Interestingly enough, the tender does not say 4G LTE support is mandatory, even though the city has reasonable 4G coverage – instead, only tri-band 3G and EDGE support are listed as mandatory. Other interesting requirments in the specification are that the devices must come with GPS and RFID/NFC onboard.

A bigger deal

Even though a delivery of 3,000 phones is a significant contract in Norway by itself, it may turn into a bigger order for the company winning the contract. As of now, the tender just covers nursing staff working in people's homes, but the tender text also states it may "expand to cover other departments in the City of Oslo" and end up covering those working in nursing homes.

The municipality of Oslo is one of the country's largest employers, with about 43,000 employees, many of these in the health care services.

Should the Windows Phone devices end up being Nokia handsets – quite possible, given that four in five devices running the OS are made by Nokia – it would be one of the company's largest enterprise deals to date, following Delta Airlines decision in August to equip 18,000 flight attendants with Lumia handsets.

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