Nokia is aiming to boost the use of mobile e-mail in the enterprise with a new release of its Intellisync software and several new handsets aimed at business users.
The new products, announced during the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, may help Nokia better compete with Microsoft, which introduced the latest version of its mobile phone software, Windows Mobile 6.0, at the conference. Windows Mobile 6.0 and Intellisync both enable mobile access to corporate e-mail.
Nokia sees huge potential in the business user. "Soon, half the population of the world will use a mobile phone, yet the mobile phone is still considered a privilege if you're working in a company," said Antti Vasara, senior vice president of mobile devices in Nokia's enterprise solutions group.
Fewer than 10 percent of employees in the enterprise use mobile e-mail, he said, leaving large potential for growth. Intellisync Mobile Suite 8.0, announced on Monday, could help drive that growth, Nokia said.
The new release is designed to make it easier and more affordable to extend mobile e-mail beyond the executive suite and traveling sales staff, said Vasala.
Nokia's Intellisync platform allows phone users to send and receive corporate e-mail on their phones and sync information like calendar and contacts with their enterprise data. It also helps administrators manage and secure mobile access.
Users now have flexible options for deployment, including fully hosted or partially hosted service. In addition, an enterprise can choose to enable an entry-level service that lets users read, compose and delete e-mails and manage local folders. The professional service includes other features such as attachment handling and personal information synchronization.
Intellisync is compatible with Symbian, Windows Mobile, Palm and some lower-end Java-based phones.
Nokia plans to make Intellisync compatible with Windows Vista, the newest version of Microsoft's PC operating system, but did not say when.
In addition to the new release of Intellisync, Nokia introduced a few new phones aimed at business users. The E90 is the latest version of the Communicator, the phone that flips open to reveal a full keyboard and four-inch screen. The E90 will use Nokia's S60 software platform, unlike previous Communicator versions which used the S80 platform. It includes new capabilities such as an MP3 player, FM radio and a video player. It also includes a still camera, video camera, Wi-Fi and GPS (Global Positioning System).
Nokia also announced the E61i, a new version of that phone that is thinner than before and features advanced e-mail attachment handling. The E65 is another new phone in Nokia's range of business handsets, with a slider to reveal the keyboard.
Nokia also introduced a few phones for consumers, including the N77, a phone designed for watching mobile TV over DVB-H networks. The cost of DVB-H chips is expected to decline to around Euro 7 (US$9) next year, making TV phones more affordable, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, president and CEO of Nokia said. He expects 5 million to 10 million such devices will be sold in 2008, increasing to 20 million by 2009.
Nokia also announced an alliance with YouTube, where YouTube videos will become available through a new feature on some Nokia Nseries phones called the Nokia Video Center. The Video Center will offer a single place on the phone where users can find, view and store their video content. YouTube announced last week that Vodafone Group would begin offering mobile access to the site.