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Matsushita licenses Nokia platform for multimedia handsets

Posted: 15 Jul 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile phone? Matsushita Communication? OMAP? multimedia handset? GSM?

In an effort to bring interoperable handsets and applications to the 2.5G and 3G mobile phone markets, Nokia has licensed its Series 60 cell phone platform to Matsushita Communication Industrial. Matsushita is the second mobile handset vendor to embrace the Series 60 Platform, which consists of Symbian Ltd's operating system, Texas Instruments Inc.'s OMAP platform and Nokia's smart phone software source code.

Under the agreement, Matsushita will use the Series 60 Platform for multimedia phones, initially for the GSM and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) market, with a goal of delivering interoperable mobile handsets and applications based on a common architecture.

Nokia signed a similar licensing deal with Siemens Information and Communication Mobile in May.

Nokia's decision earlier this year to make the source code for its smart phone software available to competitors is an unusual move for a leading handset vendor, but the company intends to allow its competitors to launch smart phones quickly by leveraging the user interface, information management applications, browser, messaging clients, phone book and other applications it has already tested and implemented.

The Series 60 offers developers easy access to the Nokia, Siemens and Matsushita product platforms. For operators, the Series 60 Platform means less complexity and enhanced application interoperability, Nokia said.

In addition to making its Series 60 Platform available for licensing, Nokia has been leading an industry initiative called Open Mobile Architecture (OMA), which was launched last fall at Comdex in Las Vegas. OMA was created as "a forum where the industry leaders align their efforts to enable new services that can work across different standards and platforms," said Pertti Korhonen, senior vice president of Nokia.

"We've recognized the fragmentation of service platforms as a huge issue for unlocking the potential for peer-to-peer mobile communications," Korhonen said earlier this year at the 3GSM World Congress.

Impatient leader

While working with the rest of the industry through the OMA initiative on one hand, Nokia is also growing impatient. The mobile handset leader, eager to solidify disparate platforms and sort out interoperability issues as quickly as possible, has thus opted for licensing its own software platform directly to its competitors. Klaus Seibold, alliance director for Nokia's mobile software, explained that a similar user interface and set of applications made possible by the licensing of the Series 60 Platform "may be the fastest way to establish interoperability among different handsets and applications."

Although Nokia is not disclosing licensing terms for the Series 60, a company spokeswoman said the deals allow Nokia to collect a royalty fee for each phone sold by its licensees.

? Junko Yoshida

EE Times

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