Users of Nokia phones could be offered easier switching between WiFi and celluar networks.
The company has developed software that will connect automatically to the cheapest or fastest network- with the user setting the parameter. The new product, Nokia's Service Suite, will obviate the user's need to choose from a variety of networks.
Telio Telecom, a Norwegian VoIP provider, is already using the product. Telio offers voice over WiFi services to users of dual-mode phones.
In addition to automatically choosing the proper network, the software also helps Telio provision the service, said Jouni Malinen, director of Nokia's emerging business unit. Once a customer signs up for Telio's service, the customer receives a message on the phone that automatically changes the phone's settings to enable the service. Without the Nokia Service Suite, customers would have to manage multiple potentially complicated configuration changes to enable the service, Malinen said.
In addition, the Nokia Service Suite allows application providers such as Telio to push out updates to phones so that customers don't have to execute cumbersome setting or configuration changes if updates are required.
While some of the mechanisms offered by the software are available already through various existing device management standards, Nokia has bundled the functions together in the Nokia Service Suite. "Our aim is to put everything needed in one solid product in order to guarantee a good user experience," Malinen said.
The software isn't limited to supporting voice applications. It can also help optimise the download or upload of media such as music, photographs or videos. For example, the software may detect that a user is in range of a WiFi hotspot that the user subscribes to and then, because the WiFi network is high-speed and available, automatically initiate the scheduled upload of photographs to a blog site.
Nokia Service Suite consists of server software that an application provider deploys as well as device software that is already built into many Nokia phones including the Eseries, Nseries and Nokia Series 80 phones.
In the future, Nokia plans to support phones from other manufacturers as well, Malinen said. "We can really guarantee the best experience on our own devices but as we're basing this on standards and open interfaces, nothing prohibits us from bringing other devices on board," he said.
With the introduction of more phones that include WiFi capabilities, application and service providers are likely to offer new ways to use the high speed and potentially lower cost networks. But they'll need to overcome some hurdles, such as complicated phone configurations, which may currently slow down use.
The Nokia Service Suite software is a step toward making dual-mode phones easier to use, Malinen said.
Original reporting by IDG news service
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