Mobile phone users face a confusing choice between two wireless high-speed data devices made by the same vendor.
Nokia today launched a handset with high-speed circuit switched data (HSCSD) technology, which provides dial-up data access at about 44Kbps. The 6210 handset will be available in volume by the third quarter of this year.
The Finnish vendor will also sell general packet radio service (GPRS) handsets, capable of speeds up to 100Kbps. The phone will be available towards the end of the year.
Arja Suominen, vice president of communications at Nokia Networks, said the two technologies are complementary. "HSCSD is more for the business user, while GPRS is more for killer applications for wireless application protocol [Wap]."
HSCSD requires the user to dial up and get a constant data stream over the packet voice network. This is better for conferencing or time-sensitive data communications. GPRS, which is always connected, is better for streaming services, such as downloading email in the background.
However, HSCSD could be a short-lived technology. It is slower than GPRS, is not always connected, and so far lacks support from some major operators. Only Orange supports HSCSD in the UK, while other operators appear to be concentrating their efforts on GPRS. This may in part be because HSCSD uses large amounts of capacity on voice networks.
Suominen said the success of HSCSD will be judged by "the number of operators taking it up and the use of the service". So far only 20 operators worldwide have committed to doing so.
Nokia announced a total of four Wap-enabled phones here at Cebit. In addition to the 6210, there is the rugged 6250 which Nokia claims is dust, water and shock-resistant.
The vendor also announced a Wap-enabled version of its Communicator - the 9110. Users of older 9110 phones will be able to make their phones compatible by adding a memory card. Nokia also announced a phone that it claims will operate in 120 countries.
Online bookseller Amazon.com has added its name to the list of major companies supporting Wap. Under a deal with Nokia, Wap phone users will be able to buy Amazon products using their handsets.
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