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Nokia Gives Series 60s a Boost

Nokia Tuesday moved forward in its quest to fortify applications for its Series 60 smartphones.

The Finnish phonemaker teamed with Borland Software to unveil the Borland C++ Mobile Edition for Series 60, Nokia Edition and fashioned a deal with Opera to let users download the Opera for Symbian OS mobile browser with Small-Screen Rendering (SSR) to their phones.

Running atop the Symbian operating system, the Nokia Series 60 Platform supports mobile browsing, multimedia messaging service (MMS)and content downloading, as well as many personal information management (PIM) and telephony applications. Current Series 60 devices include the Nokia 7650 and 3650 imaging phones and the Nokia N-Gage game deck.

Borland C++ Mobile Edition for Series 60, Nokia Edition offers developers tools to write gaming or other media-oriented applications for Nokia's Series 60 line of handsets, making application development faster for by enabling the reuse of Symbian application source code. Borland C++ Mobile Edition Symbian developers will not have to rewrite code to import their applications to Borland C++ Mobile Edition.

Developers may also create, test and debug applications within a Series 60 emulator. All of this obviates the need for a mobile device in the development cycle to allow developers teams to create applications for these devices prior to their commercial availability.

The product includes a version of Borland C++ Builder 6 and the Series 60 Software Development Kit (SDK) for Symbian OS, Nokia Edition, as well as a C++ Mobile Edition plug-in. This plug-in functions as an interface between C++Builder 6 and the SDK, which includes a Series 60 emulator, sample source code and other features tailored for the creation of applications for Series 60-based devices.

Borland C++ Mobile Edition for Series 60, Nokia Edition is available without charge from Nokia and Scotts Valley, Calif.'s Borland.

Smartphones go way behind the call of duty of traditional cell phones to provide rich media applications such as e-mail, advanced gaming, and other newer forms of messaging.

But firms such as In-Stat/MDR believe smartphones will present a significant revenue opportunity for manufacturers and carriers alike. As 2.5 and 3G wireless networks are improved and the global economy gains momentum, more users will demand the "cutting-edge" features such devices offer. This, according to In-Stat, will lead global smartphone shipments to grow from 9.9 million this year to nearly 16 million in 2006.

However, major hurdles lay ahead, including price, lack of interoperability standards, and a marketing challenge to convince end-users to buy them.

Cell phone manufacturers, such as Nokia, Motorola and Samsung have been competing for awhile in this so-called "converged" space. However, smartphones have yet to really take off beyond Japan.

Not to be outdone by the breakthrough with Borland, Norway's Opera announced from the ongoing Symbian Exposium in London that it will sell its smartphone browser with Small-Screen Rendering, which takes an HTML Web page and reformats it to fit on a smaller screen. This eliminates the need for horizontal scrolling. This feature was previously only available on desktop versions.

The accomplishment means Series 60 based smartphones, such as the Nokia 3650, will be able to render the "full Internet" on their mobile phones. Mobile application developers have been excited about this technology because most mobile Web software required Web developers to code pages intended for the mobile Web in a different language, such as WAP .

The move means users can access Internet content and services from their Series 60- and Symbian OS-based mobile phones, while network operators will enjoy an increase in data traffic.

Those interested may download the Opera for Series 60 browser for the Nokia 3650 phone from Opera or from Nokia's developer site. Nokia 3650 users can try the Opera for Series 60 browser for free for a trial period of 14 days.