3GSM - Nokia CEO hints at product pipeline

Nokia CEO talks about phones with optical zooms and WiMax capabilities at 3GSM World Congress.

With the brutal competition in the global mobile phone market, Nokia Chief Executive Officer Jorma Ollila wasn't about to tell a packed room of journalists and analysts at the 3GSM World Congress what new gadgets the company is tinkering with in its labs. But he dropped a couple of hints.

One development should interest serious camera phone users. "We're working [on phones with] an optical zoom," Ollila said. "But we don't have a date yet."

The ability to zoom is a feature numerous users of digital cameras would like to see in their camera phones.

Another development reflects what Ollila calls Nokia's willingness to embrace new technologies, even if they're disruptive, such as VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) and WiMax. "We'll come out with a VoIP product with WiMax capabilities," he said. "We're working on this."

Ollila expects WiMax-enabled phones to be available on the market from 2008.

Some experts view WiMax, which provides high-speed service in a much larger area than conventional Wi-Fi networks, as a possible threat to mobile phone networks.

Ollila's remarks on WiMax followed his announcement of Nokia's plans to have a mobile phone capable of working on cellular networks and wireless LANs available in the second quarter of this year.

The 6136 phone is based on the UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) industry standard, which enables the hand-off of voice and data connections between GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks and WLANs.

In Barcelona, Nokia also announced an agreement to cooperate with Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB on interoperability of DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld) phones, which will be able to receive television signals broadcast from TV towers.

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John Blau

IDG News Service

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