Mobile phones will become distributed computing platforms in the future, according to Nokia.
Bob Iannucci, head of Nokia's research centre, told vnunet.com of a fundamental shift in mobile phone technology as handsets develop from relying exclusively on embedded software, to more open platforms that can be configured by users.
Phones will become distributed computing devices, a trend driven in part by power and performance limitations with existing technology, Iannucci said.
"There is about a 3w limit for phones, any more than that and it starts to get too hot," he explained.
"It is possible to use the phone as part of distributed computing network, splitting the application between phone and network. This saves power and allows application developers to try new techniques."
Iannucci said that the first mobile phones were developed by engineers who specialised in embedded software that could not be changed. They were referred to as terminals, as in the 'end of the network'.
Nokia now sees the phone as a mobile computing platform on which people will want to customise the software they use. The handset also acts as a gateway to third-party services.
As the internet moves towards an architecture built around web services the opportunity to split applications between the phone and the network could cut power consumption and open up new uses for the phone.
These could include content distribution via a BitTorrent-style application, or adding continual updates to an online community.
"We are already seeing the first stages of this," said Tapani Ryhänen, head of multimedia devices research at Nokia.
"The phone is turning into an essential interface device to which we add lots of information around us. It is also a networking device, with standards like Universal Plug and Play."
Ryhänen added that in the future the mobile phone would be an essential part of any home network.
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