Nokia Struggles With Touch

Nokia is still working on bringing out touch, the company told a disappointed audience at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The company also denied a move to Linux following its acquisition of Trolltech, and added pedestrian-focussed GPS to its products.

"We are platformising touch and will bring out touch products this year," said Niklas Savander, head of software and services at Nokia. He said it was important not to bring out "guinea pig" (other reporters heard "gimmicky") touch products--and promised a smooth migration path from Nokia's existing products and the 5000 applications running on mobile phones.

Apple wasn't mentioned, but the message was clear--the Mac-maker had an easy time of it developing an iPhone as its first ever telephony product, while the Finnish handset maker has more work to do.

Nokia executives denied the company had any plans for Windows Mobile machines, despite Sony Ericsson announcing support for the Microsoft operating system in a phone announced today.


Similarly, the company's acquisition of Trolltech did not imply a move to use Linux more widely, and was not a response to moves including Android and Limo that are increasing the profile of Linux handsets, said Savander. "It's not at all about the operating system, it's about cross platform applications." Although Trolltech has a Linux platform, the reason for the acquisition was the Qt tool that can adapt user interfaces so applications will run cross platform, said Savander. "We have our own Linux platform and that will continue.


The company also announced a big change in GPS, with Nokia Maps 2.0 and a Navigator phone, the Nokia 6210, which include a built-in compass which orients the map for the user. "We're bringing GPS out of the car and onto the sidewalk," said Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kalasvuo. "This will transform the way you find your way about town." Maps 2.0 is currently in beta for the S60 platform, and will come to S40 later this year.

Alongside that, Nokia's new phones were seen by audience members asking questions to be mostly unexciting upgrades to existing series, although the "classic" 6220 has a 5 Mpixel camera, the 6210 emphasises navigation, and Nokia has put 16Gbyte in the N96 - an upgrade to the "iconic" N95.

"We have a well chosen path," said Kalasvuo in Nokia's defence. "People can tell it's a Nokia, and we have buy in."

One new addition, however, is an FM transmitter, in the N78, the latest in its N70 series. this will allow users to listen to their music on the car or home stereo. "This can also be used for audio navigation," said Savander - though conceded that most people would only need this in the car, not at home.

This story, "Nokia Struggles With Touch" was originally published by

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