BARCELONA, Spain Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, president and CEO of Nokia, came to the Mobile World Congress here Monday (Feb. 11) to declare that Nokia will "reshape the Internet."
The Finnish mobile phone maker's naked ambition may be justified by its leading market position, including a global market share that reached 40 percent at the end of 2007.
Nokia believes it, not Google, can deliver operator-independent, cross-platform phones through new software and services. How does Nokia presume that it can reshape an Internet so firmly established already? Nokia's answer lies in Maps 2.0, which the company claimed enables a "context-aware Internet" that combines multimedia features, Internet and Assisted- GPS, "We can bring more relevant and powerful context" to users browsing on the Internet, claimed Kallasvuo.
Niklas Savander, Nokia's executive vice president of services and software, added: "By adding context--such as time, place and people--to the Internet, the Web will become something very different from the one you have today."
The beta version of Maps 2.0 will be available later this month, and Kallasvuo said Nokia will deliver "navigation out of a car and bringing it to a sidewalk for pedestrians."
When taking pictures with a camera phone, for example, GPS coordinates can be simultaneously stored in a metadata file. At that point, Savander said, "location is no longer an application, but it becomes a fabric of the Internet." In another example, the handset's map can automatically display "where your friends are," he explained.
While acknowledging that both Google and Nokia share "a similar vision" for "operator-independent cross-platform software stacks," Nokia's Savander added: "Google's Android is still a Power Point presentation."
ARM Ltd. is demonstrating a prototype phone here, based on the Android platform. But Savander believes Google's platform still faces a significant amount of engineering work.
To support multiple hardware devices on Android, "you do need to develop an extensive hardware abstraction layer...lots of engineers are necessary to get that done," said Savander.
As for open platforms, Savander cast doubt about the openness of Google's Android. "For example, will the users of a handset built on the Android platform have a choice of using Yahoo in addition to Google? I don't know."