Nokia, Borland team on open mobile app development

Mobile phone giant Nokia continued its march towards increased openness in mobile-device development with the announcement that it will work with U.S.-based development-tools maker Borland Software on two of its platforms: the Series 60 Platform and Symbian OS-based platform.

Borland's Java development environments JBuilder and JBuilder MobileSet will be developed to include support for the Nokia Series 60 Platform, while Borland's C++ development environment will be made to work with Nokia's Symbian OS-based platform in the first half of 2002. The aim is to allow developers to create more applications and services for mobile devices, the companies announced in a joint statement from the 6th International Nokia Mobile Internet Conference in Barcelona on Monday.

Nokia launched its open mobile architecture initiative at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas last week, seeking to bring together all of the major handset makers and major mobile phone operators such as Motorola Inc., Siemens AG, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, NTT DoCoMo Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC.

The open-standards push comes with the advent of new wireless technologies such as GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and 3G (third-generation) mobile wireless technologies. 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.

Open standards such as those being developed by Nokia and Borland will allow corporations to integrate their custom applications with standard mobile devices and bring wireless access to their internal applications and data.

Nokia will license the Series 60 Platform as a source-code product for browser, messaging and personal information management applications and for downloading clients. These are all intended to run on top of the Symbian operating system, Nokia said.

Nokia and Borland have an ongoing partnership and the JBuilder and JBuilder MobileSet, Nokia Edition, already offers support for development of applications for the J2ME (Java 2 Platform, Mobile Edition) on Nokia's popular 9210 Communicator mobile phone.

The Nokia 9210 Communicator smart phone, which is based on the Symbian operating system and also includes a PDA (personal digital assistant), outsold PDAs by Palm Inc. and Compaq Computer Corp. in Western Europe in the third quarter, according to a study published earlier this month by research company Ltd. The new Borland C++ development environment will be made available as both a stand-alone development environment and as an expansion to the current C++Builder product line, Borland and Nokia said.

Borland's current JBuilder MobileSet requires the purchase of JBuilder Enterprise or JBuilder Professional for commercial application development, but the JBuilder MobileSet itself is available as a free download from Borland's Web site at mobileset/download.html.

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