Nokia To Buy Browser Maker Novarra

Novarra offers Vision, a mobile browser which supports Flash and video, DHTML, and full HTML with JavaScript and AJAX, RSS, and widgets.
Nokia on Friday said it plans to acquire Novarra and launch a new service using the company's Internet services technology in smartphones. Financial details were not disclosed.

Privately held Novarra offers the Vision Browser, which supports Flash and video, DHTML, and full HTML with JavaScript and AJAX, RSS and widgets. Other features include a "fit-to-screen" layout, zoom, single click access to search and login forms, and a password manager.

Novarra also offers a transformation server that the company claims can boost the speed of delivering video to smartphones. The technology does this by detecting video created for the PC, such as Flash, MPEG4 and WMV, and adapting it to a smartphone. In most cases, the video is streamed as 3GPP over RSTP to run within Novarra's browser. In other cases, the Novarra technology can invoke a third-party player or application.

Novarra is based in Chicago and has more than 100 employees. Nokia expects to close the transaction in the second quarter and launch later in the year a "new service offering using the Novarra technology platform." No other details were disclosed.

Once acquired, Novarra will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Nokia.

Nokia, the largest mobile phone maker in the world, competes with Apple, Samsung and others in the smartphone maket. Nokia, however, is also a major supplier of low-cost phones.

Early this month, Nokia introduced the C5, a simplified smartphone that lacks a touchscreen or a QWERTY keyboard. The device is the latest in Nokia's Cseries, which uses the Symbian operating system and features a 2.2-inch screen, a 2-GB memory card, an FM radio and a 3.2 megapixel camera.