Nokia will include anti-virus software on its new smart phone when it's released later this year. F-Secure will supply the software for the Nokia 6670, due for release in October.

The Symbian OS will provide on-device protection, similar in fashion to anti-virus protection programs for PCs, with automatic over-the-air updates for a monthly fee. The software will not come loaded into the device, but can be downloaded from the F-Secure website.

The Nokia 6670 will be the first mobile phone in its Series 60 line to offer the mobile virus protection, though users of other Series 60 mobile phones will also be able to purchase the anti-virus protection software.

F-Secure is also in talks with other handset manufacturers about offering similar anti-virus protection, according to Matias Impivaara, business manager for mobile security services for F-Secure of Helsinki. He declined to name any companies or set out potential dates for availability. "This announcement is a starting point for us and we have been testing the service with a variety of handsets from different vendors and in several operator networks," he said.

Nokia already offers anti-virus software through F-Secure for its Communicator line of mobile devices, but Impivaara said the protection offered for the Nokia 6670 is a greatly improved version in terms of both features and pricing options. "The first general offering for the mobile anti-virus software came a couple of years ago, but this version has a whole new infrastructure," Impivaara said. "For example, it has a patented SMS update mechanism and HTTPS connections. Plus, there is a big difference in the actual client."

The monthly pricing plan is also a first for F-Secure, Impivaara said. The first month of the service will be free and thereafter, users will be charged a licensing fee that will include the cost of updates, he said. "Before you paid on a yearly basis, but by paying monthly, you just buy the protection that you need," Impivaara said.

According to the company's current estimates, the licence will cost about €2.95 per month, but early buyers will most likely be offered a discounted price of €1.95 per month. The handset will have an estimated retail price of €500.

Lehmusvirta stressed that there is nothing about the Nokia 6670 that makes it particularly susceptible to viruses and that Nokia knows of no capabilities within any of its devices that a virus might exploit. "The rational behind the phone is as a smart phone targeted at business users who use data in their daily work, and we want to offer them some security for that data," Lehmusvirta said. "There has been a common perception for many years by the entire industry that mobile devices will become a target of viruses, though to date this kind of threat is small. We want to begin protecting against it now."