Nokia adds services to devices, creates solutions

Nokia used its Nokia World 2009 event, going on this week in Stuttgart, to introduce new hardware, a slew of new services and a new division aimed at showing the power of combining the two.

On the hardware front, the handset maker unveiled new touchscreen devices, including a mini version of the N97 and the new X series of Comes With Music phones, starting with the X6 and X3. Nokia also announced more specs on its new netbook-like Booklet 3G including that it would have a 12-hour battery life and cost €575 ($810) before subsidies. The thin netbook will include integrated Ovi maps and built-in accelerometer. O2 in Germany is the only carrier partner Nokia has announced for the Booklet, which it said will eventually come to the US, so far.

Nokia is putting most of its energy behind services to revive its brand in a competitive industry. The handset maker’s Beta Labs services division announced new services that it is testing right now with a focus on social networking. Through a partnership with Facebook, Nokia is beta testing Ovi Lifecasting on the N97, a social networking service lets users share status updates and photos with their Facebook friends, as well as their location through Ovi Maps. Nokia also introduced Social Messaging as a framework for a future native social networking client. To date the service only supports Facebook, but is designed to bring together multiple communities in a proprietary implementation. In light of these new services, Nokia is also discontinuing Nokia Friend View, an experiment from its Research Center last year for a location-aware micro-blogging tool.

To bring these two areas of focus together, Nokia launched a new Solutions unit, slated to launch on October 1st. Kai Oistamo, Nokia’s executive vice president of devices, said that the unit is about fine tuning and more closely integrating its devices and services for a more seamless user experience. “We are going to be working seamlessly together between the service experts and device experts and intend to have a solutions unit helping us to actually execute this in a perfect manor,” he said on a media call. Nokia currently has 55,000 million active users of its services and is targeting 80 million by the end of the year.

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