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Nokia Finds GPS Market

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
10/30/2006

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is ready to guide your ride, while VOIP and security are once again pole position in the WLAN world in this week's tech product roundup.

On the road: Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) today dives into the GPS market with its first in-vehicle navigation device. The $500 Nokia 330 Auto Navigation unit has a 3.5-inch touchscreen with navigation and European map applications.

The 330 can play back audio and video instruction, although Nokia has not yet revealed in which formats yet. The announcement also gives no detail on what wireless connections the 330 supports.

Nokia will take on established GPS "satnav" makers, such as Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN) and TomTom with the new box. It is expected to be available in Europe by the end of the year. No word yet on whether this product will make it stateside.

You take the HiPath: German giant Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) has once again upgraded its enterprise WiFi offering with a new management system aimed at ensuring a more talkative future for WiFi.

The firm says that its new HiPath Wireless Manager is a centralized enterprise-wide WLAN management platform that uses a single console to manage thousands of access points and tens of thousands of users.

Siemens has opened up the APIs (aka software interfaces) of the new platform in hopes that its "open management framework" will draw in third-party developers that can build in VOIP and video apps on top of its code.

Siemens is not alone in its desire to create a developers network around its WiFi offerings. Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) has also opened up the source code to its APs in a bid to get more manufacturers to make compatible hardware. (See Aruba Plots Open Source.)

Tighten Up: Wireless security startup AirTight Networks Inc. today updated its SpectraGuard 802.11a/b/g planning tool. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has enhanced its RF modeling -- simulating how signals spill over onto different floors of a building -- and emulating how new APs and antenna types could affect a company's WiFi airspace.

SpectraGuard Planner 4.0 is available now. North American pricing starts at $2,495.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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