Nokia Snaps Up Microbrowser Maven

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is continuing to build out its mobile multimedia portfolio, announcing the acquisition Friday of Novarra Inc. , which is best known for its microbrowser work for mainstream handsets.

Nokia is buying the Chicago-based private company for an undisclosed sum. The Finnish giant expects to close the buyout in the second quarter and launch "a new service offering utilizing the Novarra technology platform" later this year. (See Nokia Acquires Novarra.)

Nokia says it will use the Novarra browsing and transcoding technology to roll out more Internet services to its lower-end Series 40 range of handsets. The company claims that Series 40 phones are the most popular handset platform in the world. These low- to mid-tier devices, however, offer less in the way of Internet browsing and multimedia services than many smartphones.

"Connecting the next billion consumers to the Internet will happen primarily on mobile devices," said Niklas Savander, executive VP of services at Nokia, in a statement. Clearly, Nokia is looking to add more Internet capabilities across the broad range of its handsets.

Novarra was founded in 2000 and has around 100 employees. It has sold transcoding technology direct to carriers such as Telia Company and Vodafone UK , as well as working with Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) on its mobile search tool, OneSearch. (See Turkcell Deploys Novarra.)

The firm's approach to mobile transcoding is, however, controversial to some developers and content providers, because it simplifies HTML for lower-end handsets, changing the look and feel of mobile content.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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