Heavy hitters join Nokia's mobile architecture drive

To provide users with as many standards-compliant services using a large variety of upcoming mobile technologies, Nokia Corp. has signed up a new round of major U.S. infrastructure and application server vendors for its open standards- based mobile architecture initiative, the company announced Tuesday.

Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc., along with software vendors BEA Systems Inc. and Borland Software Corp. will be working with the Finnish mobile phone maker and other partners to develop software for future mobile technologies such as 3G (third generation) as well as GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks with a GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) add on, Nokia said in a statement.

The latest round of companies to join the mobile architecture initiative will focus on incorporating a mobile extension for J2EE (Java 2, Enterprise Edition), the server software platform based on Sun's Java programming language, Nokia said. The work will eventually lead to the development of uniform mobile APIs (application programming interface) so that programmers will have a standard set of tools for creating mobility in their applications, Nokia said.

Nokia officially launched its mobile architecture initiative last month at the Comdex Fall trade show in Las Vegas to encourage companies to embrace a specific number of open standards and to work together in developing software that complies with the specifications of bodies such as the WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) Forum and the 3GPP (third-generation Partnership Project).

Companies that announced their participation in the program in November include AT&T Wireless Group Inc., MMO2 PLC, NTT DoCoMo, Telefonica Moviles SA, Vodafone Group PLC, Fujitsu Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Motorola Inc., NEC Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp., Siemens AG, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, Toshiba Corp. and Symbian Ltd.

Nokia has been aggressive in its march toward increased openness in mobile-device development. Late last month, Nokia announced it had begun work with Borland on two of its platforms: the Series 60 Platform and Symbian OS-based platform. Specifically, Borland's Java development environments JBuilder and JBuilder MobileSet are being developed to include support for the Nokia Series 60 Platform, while Borland's C++ development environment is being made to work with Nokia's Symbian OS-based platform in the first half of 2002.

Mobile phone operators have already spent billions of dollars on obtaining spectrum licenses for 3G services and analysts contend that if users, particularly corporate users, are to embrace the technology, handset makers and mobile operators will have to offer compelling services and applications that work over as many mobile devices as possible.

Nokia aims to enable developers to create programs and services for customers that are both Web-based and mobile with the same underlying application design while maintaining the high quality in both environments and hiding the infrastructure complexity.

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