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When will your phone become a TV?

Nokia peeks at DVB

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Although the popular prints devote themselves to the threat posed to cellular manufacturers by WLAN, Nokia has identified future opportunities in streaming video.

"Digital Video will bring the broadcasting battle line to mobility," said Nokia President Pekka Ala-Pietilä at a two-day briefing for the world's press in Helsinki. "Like WLAN, the challenge is to integrate these into a small device. It is not simple."

Indeed not. With High Definition streaming MPEG video consuming 2.4GB of storage per minute, it may be some time before we'll be able to consider a handheld as the optimal playback device. But that's not to say some impressive video streaming will be possible.

Nokia's terminal side has positioned itself as much more than a phone manufacturer for some time now. The N-Gage marks its first territory into gaming, and the 3330 is primarily a music player. But video of this quality requires higher bandwidth than the networks can currently sustain.

Nokia currently bundles Hantro's video recorder and Real Player on its 3650 cameraphone.

Then there's the prickly issue of radio backends. Pekka Ala-Pietilä described WLAN as "an opportunity, not a threat," and described its value as being complementary.

"We've been experimenting with hot spots since 1998. We learned a lot. It's not a challenger to WCDMA [the air interface used by most 3G networks]," he said. "Maybe we were too early."

However Nokia's Senior VP for Business Applications, Erik Anderson, said he saw a demand for VoIP.

"We want to make more kinds of devices, we want the number of devices to grow," he told us. "Some will be do-it-all devices, some will be specialized. But there will be a lot of interesting devices." ®

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