Nokia Launches Rural Information Service in China

Nokia is bringing Ovi Life Tools, a set of informational services for rural areas in developing countries, to China, the company said on Friday.

The SMS-based service will be in simplified Chinese, the written form of the language used in mainland China. The services are split into four categories: healthcare, agriculture, education and entertainment.

The agriculture package includes news, market prices and weather, and a subscription will cost 8 yuan (US$1.20) per month. The healthcare service features information on topics such respiratory issues, hepatitis B and pregnancy care, while the education package will help subscribers learn English. Those packages will each cost 5 yuan per month.

Information can also be purchased on an on-demand basis, according to Nokia.

Nokia is packaging Life Tools with two phones: the 1616 and the 1800. They have an FM radio and a flashlight, and the 1616 adds an anti-dust keypad, a 3.5 millimeter audio jack and the ability to have multiple phone books for when several people share the same phone, according to Nokia.

The phones will cost between 250 yuan and 300 yuan at retail, and will start shipping in mid-May, Nokia said.

The launch of Life Tools is the latest part in Nokia's accelerating push into China. In April, the company launched a version of its Comes With Music download service without digital rights management (DRM), and at the end of last year Nokia introduced its first smartphone for China Mobile's 3G network.

Life Tools is also available in India and Indonesia.

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