Handset manufacturer Nokia has announced that it will acquire Chicago based Novarra, Inc for an undisclosed amount, thus making a foray into the mobile web browser market. Novarra develops internet browsers and platforms for operators, handsets manufacturers and Internet brands, and Nokia expects to use the browser to target feature phones, particularly the low end Series 40 handsets.
Optimizing Mobile Web Delivery
Novarra’s optmizes content for delivery on the mobile platform, in a manner that appears to be similar to the way Opera Mobile works: their Vision Server processes heavy incoming data on webpages on its server first, and customizes the page to suit the user’s handset tweaking anything heavy that the user’s mobile phone cannot handle. According to its website, it reduces over the air data by 90 percent. The platform also generates new revenue streams from contextual ads for operators and handset manufacturers. The browser supports Java, BREW and C++ mobile handsets and can be customized to suit the handsets features and capabilities.
One of features of the platform is that it optimises deployment of mobile app stores by increasing content discovery, lowering cost of deployment and speed up marketing, so post acquisition we can expect a wider deployment of the Ovi Store from Nokia.
In the Indian Market
Nokia has the largest marketshare in the Indian handset market, but is facing stiff competition from the advent of local companies like Micromax and Karbonn Mobiles, apart from competition at the feature-phone level from LG and Samsung. Nokia will look to leverage all this to attract users that it is loosing to local manufactures which are offering feature packed phones at low prices. In India, where mobile penetration is more than PCs, telecom operators are looking to at data as an important alternative revenue source, and heavily promoting online services: mobile phones with enhanced browsers will certainly help the cause.
Novarra already works with Vodafone, Verizon Wireless, Yahoo! and Qualcomm amongst others.