Nokia Partners With YouTube

Announced at the 3GSM Conference, the deal will allow Nokia customers to view YouTube content on their handsets via broadband links.
BARCELONA, China — Nokia Corp. President and CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo announced at the 3GSM World Congress a new partnership with YouTube that will allow Nokia customers to view YouTube content on their handsets via broadband links.

With the YouTube deal, Kallasvuo uttered the universal marketing theme of the 3GSM show: "You can now watch the content you want, when you want it, on the move."

YouTube is scheduled to launch its mobile site shortly. It will initially pre-edit YouTube clips, encode them in the H.264 compression format and optimize them for mobile viewing, according to Nokia executives. Nokia has developed new application software called Nokia Video Center designed to provide a single interface for finding, viewing and storing video on Nokia N-series multimedia phones.

Nokia's move illustrates rapidly changing market demands for diversified video delivery to mobile handsets. Cellphone vendors are preparing for not only mobile TV broadcast technology but also broadband connections with an easy-to-use video application software. To enable YouTube video-on-demand, handsets also need wireless LAN or 3G connection capabilities. Nokia's N95 and the recently announced Nokia N93i provide the links.

Although Nokia insisted that both mobile TV broadcast reception (via DVB-H) and video-on-demand via broadband connection will complement each other, the company acknowledged that the two video delivery technologies will not converge on the same Nokia handset until 2008.

For now, Nokia's N77 handset, based on S60 software on the Symbian operating system, receives DVB-H-based mobile digital TV broadcasts but does not enable YouTube video-on-demand capabilities on handsets.

The N77 comes with a dedicated TV key to provide access to DVB-H broadcasts. The N77's is priced at 380 euros ($492), "a big reduction" compared to its previous mobile TV handset which cost 600 euros ($777), according to Jonas Geust, vice president for multimedia. The DVB-H-enabled mobile TV handsets are designed to work on 3G, Edge and GSM networks.

Nokia's CEO called the N77 a handset that "takes mobile TV to the mainstream market." He said the price of DVB-H chip set, including antenna, will be "around 7 euros" in 2008. Asked whether the price may be too aggressive, Geust responded, "We know the price because we buy them."

Nokia's CEO projected that the global DVB-H handset market will grow to "5 to 10 million units in 2008," reaching "20 million by the end of 2009."

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