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Nokia Launches Mobile Chat Application

Gearing up for a new era in mobile messaging, wireless communications guru Nokia Networks Friday introduced a new mobile chat application to allow mobile operators to offer new messaging services for their subscribers.

Dubbed simply Nokia FriendsTalk, the tool offers discreet and instant communications tools by providing multipoint messaging, public and private channels and individual user profiles.

What mobile chat paves the way for is a new medium of interactive communication, where a user can go about his or her business -- perhaps running errands or shopping while not missing a beat with his or her friends. The key difference is in the plurality, as users can converse with multiple users simultaneously.

Part of Nokia's philosophy holds that, in the ever-evolving online age, people are becoming busier and busier. Mobile computing devices allow people to accomplish things and keep wired to their world -- a zenith of multitasking capability.

"In the mobile world, the use of Short Message Services has risen dramatically, becoming a driving force for many new mobile services; according to estimates around 8 billion SMS messages are sent every month in the world," said Pekka Oranen, senior vice president, Mobile Internet Applications, Nokia Networks.

"Mobile chat combines these two and takes the SMS culture a step further, increasing customer-loyalty, bringing new revenues for operators and new services for subscribers."

Nokia FriendsTalk is now available for USSD and SMS technologies and it is designed to support other protocols, such as WAP and GPRS, allowing seamless chatting between users, regardless of the terminal.

Though no Big blue yet, cell phone leader Nokia employs more than 60,000 people and garnered net sales of $19.9 billion last year.

Though nowhere near as advanced as Nokia in the mobile realm, Amazon.com Inc. Friday made its own wireless play with the launch of Mobile Auctions, which gives cell phones the ability to search for new auction items, enter and monitor bids and track sales directly from a handset.

In addition, customers can create their own custom alerts to be sent to their handsets or pagers notifying them of their auction status.