By Associated Press
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Several companies announced moves at the World Mobile Conference on Monday to increase and enhance Internet access from mobile phones.
Nokia, maker of 40 percent of handsets sold around the world, announced two new services and two new handsets designed to optimize mobile computing.
Sony Ericsson announced one handset. And Texas Instruments Inc. said it will demonstrate a prototype cell phone based on Google Inc.'s Android operating system with a TI processor inside.
Microsoft Corp. also said it plans to buy Silicon Valley software maker Danger Inc., based in Palo Alto, Calif., which is best known for its Sidekick cell phone and for efficient software that allows cell phone users to browse the Web, access e-mail and exchange instant messages, carrying with it the cachet of youth and usability attractive to Microsoft as it penetrates the mobile market.
Controlling 40 percent of the handset market, Nokia is seeking to marry services with its devices. Its new Share on Ovi will allow users to manage, share and store their personal media, including photos; documents in 100 formats and Nokia Maps 2.0 -- a service Nokia called the first pedestrian-oriented navigation system.
''As the Internet is freed from the limitations of the desktop, we are taking mobility into a completely new realm of possibility,'' said CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. ''We are redefining the Internet itself as it increasingly becomes a medium of immediate and personal experiences.''
Nokia Maps 2.0 will be available in a test version this month and incorporated into Series 40 devices this year, he said.
''Struggling with a paper-sized map will be a thing of the past,'' Kallasvuo said.
Nokia also announced new handsets aimed at the market converging home and mobile Internet use, including the N78, which improves on the N73's connectivity and adds an FM transmitter that allows users to play music from the device over a car radio or home hi-fi system. The phone, which also enables geotagging, or labeling photos with geographic coordinates, will cost about $500.
The new N96 handset includes more memory, more applications and more video than its predecessor, the N95, with a bigger 2.9-inch display, 16 gigabytes of storage that can expand to 32 with an SD card and a high-speed USB that will allow the transfer of a full-length movie in two minutes. The device will ship in the third quarter for about $725.