Nokia buys Smarterphone to strengthen basic phone features

Mobile major Nokia has acquired Norwegian technology
startup Smarterphone to add more advanced features to its basic cellphone

Nokia, left in the dust by Apple Inc and Google Inc in
the booming smartphone market, has also struggled to hold on to its lead in
lower-end markets, under pressure from Samsung Electronics, according to

Oslo-based Smarterphone has a team of 15 people. The
start-up has created a software platform which it says enables a
smartphone-like user experience on cheap hardware.

“The increasing competition on high-end smartphones
makes Nokia’s low-end software more important in the future. They need to bring
Series 40 to a new level,” said John Strand, founder of Danish telecoms
consultancy Strand Consult.

Nokia has sold hundreds of millions of basic cellphones
running its 10-year old Series 40 software platform, which many analysts say is
too basic to compete against smartphones cheaper than $100 running Google’s
Android software.

The acquisition is part of the Finnish firm’s strategy of
expanding mobile Internet usage to a billion more consumers, the second focus
— after revamping smartphone offerings — in the strategy of Chief Executive
Stephen Elop.

Smarterphone investors include venture firm Ferd Capital,
and Haavard Nord, founder of Norwegian mobile software firm Trolltech, which
Nokia acquired in 2008. Ferd Capital said it has invested a total of 6.5
million euros in Smarterphone since 2007.

By Team
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