Nokia enlists new GPS technology

By Sarah Falson

FINLAND: Mobile phone manufacturer, Nokia, has entered into a cooperative licensing agreement with Trimble Navigation – a leading Finnish innovator of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.

According to Nokia Australia communications manager, Louise Ingram, Nokia has obtained intellectual property licensing rights to Trimble’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) patents, which are related to designated wireless products and services.

Nokia will also have the power to sub-license Trimble’s technologies, as it already does with its GSM and WCDMA/UMTS technology portfolios, but it is yet to be confirmed whether Nokia will offer Trimble GNSS as a license under its two existing sub-licensed patents, or if it will sub-license Trimble separately.

“We would wish to emphasise that Nokia is still exploring different alternatives,” Ingram told Current.com.au

Trimble’s portfolio includes over 700 differently-patented technologies, which is the broadest offering from a single navigation company in the industry. Its focus is on location implementation in machinery.

“These patents include some related to the GPS standard and very many involving GPS implementation in devices and services. Nokia is licensing all these patents for a defined field-of-use,” said Ingram.

When asked when we could expect to see Nokia handsets on the market that incorporate Trimble technology, Ingram answered: “Trimble patents are planned to be used in the future Nokia products. We look at this as a long term investment and the solutions will be implemented in our devices in due course.”

“Nokia strongly believes that location-based capabilities and services will be an important element of future mobile communications devices. Today, the location-based services industry is experiencing significant growth in the area of navigation – for example, in car and pedestrian navigation.

“Other services such as ‘local search’ – finding relevant information based on one’s location – are also becoming increasingly popular. As more and more location-based services continue to be added to mobile devices, the mobile phone is expected to play a central role in the mass adoption of location-based services by consumers.

“The next generation of wireless – truly Broadband wireless internet – will, among other things, capitalise on location-based technologies and services.”

Nokia obtained the use of Gate5 navigation software in August this year, and has just announced a new batch of mobile phones – the N Series – called ‘multimedia computers’, which are full-blown GPS devices, offering voice directions, points-of-interest, travel mapping and turn-by-turn instructions.

Difficult to classify, the N Series (available in mid-2007) could enjoy retailership in less traditional stores (for mobile phones), like travel-goods suppliers. This seeming trend has come off the back of a decision made in August to retail the brand’s range of camera phones – the N93 and N73 – through Camera House stores in Melbourne.

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