Hewlett-Packard and Finnish mobile phone company Nokia have announced a partnership to develop and bundle systems for telecoms companies to offer data services for mobile device users.
The companies will combine HP's Unix or NT servers, initially the company's new L Class Unix server announced today (see later story), with Nokia's wireless application protocol (WAP) server software.
WAP is an emerging standard for sending data to mobile devices. HP is the first server vendor to bundle Nokia's WAP server software, announced at Cebit in March. (see Newswire 20 March, 1999)
"By 2003, wireless will be a $5 billion business for servers alone," explained Janice Chaffin, vice president of enterprise computing at HP.
Peter van der Fluit, European vice president of enterprise computing, said three million mobile phones were shipping every week and that by 2003, more than half would be WAP compatible. Other devices, such as handheld computers, would also make use of WAP to access eServices, he noted.
"It was HP's eServices vision that impressed us most. We see WAP playing a key part in the next chapter of the Internet and HP clearly knows how the next chapter of the Internet is developing," said Gerhard Ramen, Nokia's vice president of sales and marketing.
He said travel services and banking via your mobile phone were two examples of services that would take off with the advent of WAP technology.
In addition to the server software and hardware, the user requires a WAP compatible handset to access the services. Major mobile phone vendors Nokia and Ericsson have already launched their first WAP phones.
However, the deal with HP is not exclusive. No other server deals are in place yet, but IBM plans to make an announcement about a WAP based online travel booking and information system with Nokia later this week.
The WAP announcement fits in with HP's recently announced eServices strategy, known as eSpeak, to simplify the use of online applications and work with some companies on the basis of taking a share of the revenue from transactions rather than from the sale of the system. (see Newswire 19 May 1999)
The company said it would work with Nokia to make all its HP 9000 Unix servers and its Netserver Intel systems optimised to run WAP software.
The first product will be a WAP enabled email system based on HP's Openmail messaging product. This will be combined with Nokia's WAP server, which the company claimed was the first in the world to use Wireless Transport Layer of Security to provide secure mobile phone access from phone to service provider.
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