Nokia offers prizes to inspire Java applet developers

Nokia Corp. has come up with a cunning plan to develop the latest and greatest applications for mobile phones using Java technology and Symbian Ltd.'s operating system: sponsor a contest for developers and get them to do it.

The Nokia Mobile Challenge, which is comprised of a variety of competitions, is open to developers -- professionals and students -- worldwide, Nokia said in a statement. The MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) Java contest was launched Monday while the Symbian OS contest will begin Dec. 10, Nokia said.

Winning applications would be licensed for use on Nokia mobile phones, such as the Java-ready Nokia 7650 imaging phone launched last week and the popular Java-ready Nokia 9210 Communicator, and will be featured in print and online advertising campaigns, Nokia said. Furthermore, applications will remain the property of the creator, Nokia said.

The Nokia 7650 phone -- the first in the imaging category -- sports a built-in digital camera, a photo album, a color display, GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and support for multimedia messaging (MMS), while the Nokia 9210 Communicator smart phone, which is based on the Symbian operating system, also includes a PDA (personal digital assistant) that is currently outselling PDAs by Palm Inc. and Compaq Computer Corp. in Western Europe. Nokia has often stressed that the key to selling its next-generation mobile devices will be the applications and services that work over the phones and that Java is the best technology for developing those applications. In June, Nokia announced its plans to ship 50 million Java-enabled handsets by 2002 and 100 million in 2003, making the company one of the leading Java promoters and users.

Nokia has worked closely with Sun Microsystems Inc., owner of the Java technology, and last week announced it is also working with U.S.-based development-tools maker Borland Software Corp. on two of its platforms. Specifically, Borland's Java development environments JBuilder and JBuilder MobileSet will be enhanced 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, all in an effort to allow developers to create more applications and services for mobile devices.

As part of the Nokia Mobile Challenge, Nokia will provide free of charge the tools and emulators needed by contestants for testing their applications, the company said.

Winners will be announced in March 2002. More information on entry, registration and contest rules can be found online at http://www.forum.nokia.com.

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