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The first day of the two-day event Nokia World 2009 was flagged off at Stuttgart, Germany with President and CEO of Nokia Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo talking about So-Lo, or Social Location merging with social networking. Nokia launched So-Lo, a concept of merging contacts with physical location at Nokia World 2008. This has finally turned to reality with a partnership with Facebook for Ovi Lifecasting. “The phrase ‘Where are you?’ has become as significant as ‘How are you?’,” said Kallasvuo.
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Nokia Maps and Facebook have partnered to offer Lifecasting, which appears to be a widget of sorts that will enable “rich presence” on the social network, allowing users to reveal their whereabouts on Facebook Mobile. Users will need to sign up with Ovi to access it. It only available on N97 handsets for now, unfortunately. A video of Lifecasting is available here.

Updates To Apps: Ovi Maps & Nokia Messaging

Along with Lifecasting, the company has released 2 other beta application updates today on its Nokia Labs site:

  • Ovi Maps Beta sports a new menu, search and a bunch of other new features.
  • Nokia Messaging received a Social Messaging Beta expansion with support for location broadcasting.

Updates On Nokia’s Services

Kallasvuo continues his thrust on services, saying the company’s ambition was to create the biggest delivery platform for services. There are 55 million active users of Nokia’s services and he is targeting 300 million by 2012. “This is a scale game and we understand scale,” he said. There are 1.1 billion Nokia device owners globally.

  • OVI Store –  Ovi is building momentum and is on 100 Nokia devices, with 27 operators offering integrated billing services in 8 countries.
  • Ovi Mail – Available in 20 languages and one million accounts were activated in six months.
  • Comes With Music – Calling it an ‘all you can eat’ music buffet, Kallasvuo said it is not a me-too music service. It is on 28 devices and offers 6 million tracks from big stars to local rising stars. More devices are coming up with this service.
  • Nokia Life Tools – Encouraged by the popularity of its Nokia Life Tools service in India, Kallasvuo said Nokia will expand it to other crop markets.
  • Nokia Money – With Obopay, Nokia plans to offer these services to rural areas and cities globally.

N97 Mini Launched; Mobile PCs New Segment; New X Series Music Handsets

newNokia will continue adding more hardware devices. “We will deploy multiple platforms in 3 broad categories: phones, smartphones and mobile PCs,” Kallasvuo said. The Nokia booklet 3G will be available soon (it runs on Windows 7 OS), while the N900, the first Maemo-based device by the manufacturer was launched recently.

The manufacturer’s touchscreen phones N97 and N5800 have seen sales of 10 million in 10 months, and half of the sales were in the past 3 months. Last week, Nokia launched the 5230 touch screen phone which follows on the success of the 5800. It launched a variant of Nokia N97 called Mini, which will cost 450 euros. It also launched a new music series with handsets X3 and X6.

Partnership With Microsoft

It will also partner with more companies similar to its recent tie up with Microsoft which brought MS Office to Symbian phones. More announcements with Microsoft will follow soon, Kallasvuo promised.

Nokia is also opening up development. “This is a huge change for us,” he said.

Nokia World is the phone manufacturer’s annual tech event where it will unveil its latest handsets, demonstrate breakthroughs, hold discussions with developers and telecom operators over a two day period. Last year, Nokia World 08 was held on December 2-3, 2008 in Barcelona, and was the occasion where the N97, Nokia Maps and Nokia Messaging were unveiled.

We will be tracking online reports and posts on the event here on Medianama. Twitter users can use the designated hashtag #nw09.  Nokia is streaming the conference live at the Nokia World site and will put up an official online video covering the event at 1:30 pm CET, which is approximately 3:30 pm IST here.

Indian media attending the event are CNBC and ET Now, Business Today, wire news service PTI and Fone Arena, according to Fone Arena’s Twitpic.