Nokia, HP ‘Visualize’ Mobile Radio

When Nokia introduced its Visual Radio concept in
October 2003, the company had yet to announce a serious partner to
power the support platform.

The demonstration showed mobile phone users receiving FM radio
broadcasts synchronized with interactive visuals and text on their handsets.

Now the Finland-based cell phone maker has teamed up with HP in a backend services contract that extends their previous
relationship, builds out a new Web service for mobile phones and
creates a revenue sharing scheme that impacts a couple of sectors.

The two companies Tuesday outlined their agreement, which has the
Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker selling the products to mobile operators and FM radio stations. The program is scheduled to debut in Finland, U.K. and Japan and then eventually worldwide.

HP will also provide installation, consulting and integration support. In addition, HP said it would host and manage the Visual Radio service using its own platforms. For its part, Nokia said it is committing more resources
to provide and continue to develop the Visual Radio technology.

The Nokia 7700 is planned for release in the second quarter of 2004
and
features more than 65,000 colors on its Series 90 touch screen. The
handset,
which has a similar design to its N-Gage gaming platform, also offers a
camera phone and supports HTML/XHTML browsing.

Nokia already has FM tuners in some of its cell phones before. But
starting with its color screen 7700 series, the handset manufacturer’s
service lets the listener interact with promotions, purchase ring
tones, buy
concert tickets, and get additional content supplied by the station.
The
service also allows for traffic and weather reports, talk radio and
sports
broadcasts. Fees would either be based on minutes per data stream as
part of
a carrier’s plan or as an add-on package, Nokia said. The company said
it
also plans to make the Visual Radio technology available to other
handset
manufacturers.

“The FM radio capabilities are based on standard tuners embedded in
the
handset. The Visual Radio service picks up a user’s location over GPRS
and
is able to pinpoint which radio stations are in the area,” Reidar
Wasenius,
Nokia senior project manager told internetnews.com.

Joy King, vice president at HP Services, echoed that HP’s interest
is
supporting a business model that “enables our customers to capitalize
on
consumers’ rising demand for content-rich, highly relevant services.”

And as for the profits, Nokia and HP say they are willing to share
part
of that with service providers, operators and broadcasters. Specific
breakdowns of who gets what were not disclosed. Under the plan,
broadcasters
increase revenue from enhanced advertising and from the sales of
digital
content. Service providers gain from the types of information accrued
from
surveys, quizzes and special offers that appear on Visual Radio-enabled
handset displays. Carriers gain in increased subscription rates
especially
in ring-tone and phone content-crazed areas like the U.K. and Japan.

“What we are creating is a successful eco-system,” King told
internetnews.com. “We all see that to be successful we have to
raise
the average investment per the end customer.”

HP and Nokia have an established connection, recently extending their three-year deal with an additional five-year contract for an
estimated at $400 million.

HP’s extended agreement means it becomes Nokia’s IT department in a
service-based model based on HP’s Adaptive Enterprise strategy. In
addition
to managing the servers, HP will enable billing based on actual IT
service
consumption and different support requirements by Nokia’s businesses.

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