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Nokia's Boston office takes apps to a new level

Posted: 22 Feb 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile OS? geolocation apps? navigation-software?

Short of a backup plan for its operating system strategy as it has placed all of its bets in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 8 OS, Nokia Corp. has a sneaky strategy up its sleeve to make a comeback in the mobile arena. The Finnish phone maker is now developing geolocation apps not only for its own line of phones but for Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Google Inc.'s Android as well.

Nokia is said to be putting faith into Navteq, a navigation-software provider the company acquired for $8.1 billion in 2007. So far Navteq hasn't played any part in Nokia's overall strategy.

The woman in charge of Nokia's app efforts is Ba?ak ?zer, previously of Quattro Wireless and Tom Tom, now in charge of Nokia's social and location based applications division.

In just one year, Nokia has grown the Boston-based division from the ground up, going from no employees to 55 and still hiring.

The first tangible fruits of the division's labor were embodied in the Pulse contextualized multimedia message app, which uses a person's location to automate messages to small groups of friends.

The app can automatically tag photos and updates with a person's location, integrate that with maps, pictures, text messages, emails and other notifications, making private group sharing more interactive and easy to use. The beta version was already released last autumn, but Nokia plans to take it to the iPhone and Android platforms soon.

To be social, you have to be on every platform," ?zer told the Boston business journal, hinting at future plans for a new type of mobile social network which will make use of a whole suite of new Nokia apps.

"Nokia has been able to rediscover itself at times in the past, and I believe this is another one of those times," said ?zer, though she admitted the difficulty in persuading new employees to join a troubled company still going through reorganizations and laying people off.

"I want to build a Nokia brand in Boston. I want recruiting of high talent people to be a much easier job," she said, hoping that Nokia's brand presence and $11.4 billion cash worth will help.

"This is a great place to build a career," she concluded.

- Sylvie Barak
??EE Times

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