The 3GSM World Congress 2005 event was held from the 14th to the 17th of February in Cannes, France, and was host to multiple exhibitors, operators and phone manufacturers alike. The CEOs of many companies, from the likes of Vodafone, NTT DoCoMo, T-Mobile and Orange, gave their views on what the future of mobile phones will shape up to be, but what was more interesting to most of us were the huge numbers of new phones that were announced by all manufacturers. In addition, many phone manufacturers were demonstrating units sold in markets other than Europe, and many visitors enjoyed visiting manufacturers’ and operators’ booths to play with the technology of the future.
Starting with the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, Nokia announced three new phones and some interesting technological developments.
The successor to the Nokia 6630 3G smartphone that has just been released in Australia, the 6680 is Nokia’s first true video call-capable candybar-shaped phone. In addition to the 1.3 megapixel external camera, a VGA camera on the front of the device allows for video calls to be made between compatible devices. Other features include Series 60 user interface running on Symbian OS, LED flash for the external camera, RS-MMC slot (dual voltage cards only), stereo music player and Bluetooth, running on GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800/1900 and WCDMA 2100 networks.
Almost exactly the same as the 6680, but the 6681 gains Push to Talk capability while losing the front camera and the ability to connect to WCDMA 3G networks. The 6681 supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800/1900 networks and will retail in most areas, while the 6682 will be sold in the USA and support 850/1800/1900 bands.
A mid-range clamshell phone comparable to Motorola’s V series phones released last year. Contains a VGA digital camera, medium resolution colour main screen and colour external screen, MMS support, stereo FM radio, Push to Talk and support for Nokia’s new Xpress audio messaging system. The 6101 is the first Nokia phone to be fully customised by a mobile operator, and will be released by China Mobile as the 6102 and feature full China Mobile branding. GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800/1900 and 850/1800/1900 versions will be available.
Nokia have also announced the new version of their smartphone user interface, Series 60 3rd Edition, featuring new media player software, USB mass storage capability, improved email support and support for Microsoft ActiveSync, which Nokia has licensed from Microsoft. Nokia announced agreements with Macromedia for Shockwave Flash support to be integrated into future Nokia handsets, as well as with Loud eye to develop a platform for streaming music to handsets based around Windows Media files with Digital Rights Management (DRM), which follows similar agreements between players such as Motorola and Apple.
Finally, Nokia demonstrated their NFC (Near Field Communications) wireless IC chip technology jointly developed with Sony and Philips Electronics, using a Nokia 3220 with an external casing. This technology is envisioned for use with mobile commerce, where such a phone can store financial information so that you could simply swipe your phone past a machine in order to pay for train tickets or recharge a credit card. Such devices are already in use in Japan using Sony’s FeliCa technology embedded in certain NTT DoCoMo handsets (see NTT DoCoMo’s section for more information).