Nokia is making it easier for business workers to get their Exchange email on its smartphones, pushing an alternative to Research In Motion's ubiquitous BlackBerry technology.
The Finnish handset maker announced on Tuesday that it's simplifying the process of putting Microsoft Exchange Active Sync on 43 Nokia devices. Those devices represent about 80 million devices in the field. Going forward, the company will embed Exchange Active Sync on all its N-series and E-series devices, said Bill Plummer, vice president of sales and go-to-market for the Americas.
Exchange Active Sync lets users access their Exchange email without the enterprise having to install a special infrastructure on its own network, as is required for the BlackBerry. Employees will simply have to enter their name, password, domain and server address to get to their email, Plummer said.
At a press event on the eve of the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment show in San Francisco, Nokia also announced a new component of its Ovi software and services suite that lets users access files on their PCs from any mobile device and even share them with others using mobile devices.
Called Files on Ovi, the system will reformat the PC-based content for display on whatever device is being used. It's designed to prevent sharing of copyright material, though it wouldn't block 'found' files that don't have digital rights management protection, Plummer said.
In addition to accessing and sharing files on your own PC, Files on Ovi will include 10GB or 30GB of online storage hosted by Nokia that allows access to files even when your PC is turned off. After a 60-day free trial, Files on Ovi will cost US$79 per year with 10G bytes and $149 per year with 30G bytes. The service is available from the Ovi website but is still in beta testing.
Ovi is a set of tools for using and synchronizing content across mobile devices, PCs and the web. Though users can sign up for Ovi on their own, Nokia announced on Tuesday its first service agreement with a North American carrier, Rogers Wireless of Canada. Rogers will offer two services - maps and gaming - and provide support for them. Games will cost about $10 each but vary in price, according to Nokia. Maps and directions are free, but turn-by-turn instructions will cost $129 per year in the US. Three-day, five-day, and one-month deals are also available.
Nokia also claimed another milestone that attests to its massive scale, with 122 million [m] phones sold in the most recent quarter. Already the world's biggest maker of cameras and music players, Nokia is also the world's biggest maker of GPS (Global Positioning System) devices, said Mark Louison, head of Nokia in North America. About 15 Nokia devices now include GPS, he said.