ENHANCING THE MOBILE
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA, NOVEMBER 3, 2003 (STAR) By Tony Paño – Imagine sending digital still images via MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) to a medallion that you wear around your neck, or to a picture frame sitting on the table of a loved one.
Or conversing while driving with a hands-free kit that links up with your handset as soon as you step into your car. Or scribbling messages or doing colored sketches on special paper with a "digital pen" and transmitting them to a Bluetooth-enabled cellphone.
There’s more. Transfer images from your mobile via Bluetooth to a gadget and project them on a compatible TV or video projector. Or store images in what looks like a small rod with a peephole and send them, wireless, to a PC or handset.
Call these things extensions of your mobiles. For Nokia, they’re "enhancements" – forget "accessories" – of the mobile experience.
The Finnish telecoms giant is serious about these offerings. Timo Sivula, head of the Mobile Enhancements Business Unit of Nokia Mobile Phones Asia-Pacific, says these gadgets represent a "new thinking," a sort of "stepping out of the box" – particularly for the "imagewear" like the medallions, the goal being to complement the Nokia phones and satisfy user demand.
Take the Nokia Medallions I and II. Sivula says these imagewear products allow mobile users to "express themselves in a fashionable way." "It’s about me!" he quips.
"Hunt down your alter ego. Capture it in a photograph." That’s how the Nokia website plugs the medallions. These wearables have a steel casing and 96 x 96 pixel color display, but different form factors — Medallion I as a choker in steel chain or matte rubber, and Medallion II with leather straps for wearing around the wrist or neck.
Via infrared, one can upload images to the medallions — they can store up to eight images — from a compatible Nokia phone. A touch of a button reveals a timepiece, and there are controls with which to browse or delete images.
Judging from the medallions’ London launch, Sivula says the wearables mark "the beginning of a new concept," for which Nokia is "very positive."
Stay connected with kith and kin or simply view your favorite pictures in a slideshow format via another Nokia "enhancement" – the Image Frame, which blends advanced technology with a traditional object, the picture frame. You can transfer digital images from a compatible Nokia phone to the Image Frame, which can store up to 50 images.
Car Kit Phone, Digital Pen
For car owners, there’s the Nokia 610 car kit phone, which, as Nokia describes it, allows them to go "auto mobile." It has a separate display and input device with a Navi wheel which allows convenient call and message handling. The switch is instant because the car kit phone accesses the SIM card of your compatible Nokia phone (6230, 6810 and 6820) via Bluetooth.
The car kit phone boasts of speaker-dependent voice dialing and voice commands, external antenna connection, wireless downloading of contact info and voice recording, among other features. Nokia showcased the gadget installed in a BMW during the regional media launch here last week.
Another innovative "enhancement" is the Nokia Digital Pen, which allows a mobile user to send a personalized note or colored drawing via MMS to a compatible phone or e-mail address. Better still, one can store his personal notes on a compatible PC via Bluetooth. It comes though with special paper.
There are other Nokia "enhancements" all designed to match the needs and desires of targeted consumers.
• Nokia Observation Camera. Install the gadget in your home or office, inside a warehouse, garage, a summerhouse or elsewhere, and it allows you to keep an eye on these places. You simply request a picture via text and the image is transmitted to any MMS-capable, user-defined Nokia mobile phone or e-mail address.
The Observation Camera captures and transmits pictures when triggered by a motion sensor. It can be programmed to take images at a designated time interval.
• Nokia Wireless Boom Headset. A stylish wireless headset using Bluetooth technology which can be switched conveniently from one ear to the other.
• Nokia Wireless Audio Adapter. This lightweight tool allows wireless connection between a headset and a non-Bluetooth-enabled phone. It is attached to the Pop-Port connector.
• Nokia Kaleidoscope I. With this small device, you can upload digital images and carry them with you, or even share them via infrared. It has a virtual 32,768-color display and stores up to 24 images at a time (compatible multimedia cards allow extra memory).
Nokia targets the rollout of these "enhancements" in the first and second quarters of 2004, except for Medallions I and II which will be available this quarter.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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