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Nokia recovering, readying multi-touch phones?

updated 09:55 am EST, Tue February 3, 2009

Nokia Multi-Touch Rumor

Alleged market sources tell DigiTimes today that Nokia is planning a resurgence that may hinge on multi-touch devices. The Finnish company is said to be planning several cellphones with advanced 3G as well as "multi-touch and multimedia functions" for the year that will help not only itself but the companies that make the cellular chipsets and touchscreen technology, including Qualcomm, Synaptics and Texas Instruments. Other details aren't mentioned, though the multi-touch technology doesn't apply to the N97.

Recent roadmaps have suggested Nokia is planning at least two devices beyond the N97, codenamed IP08 and Eitri, that will focus heavily on touch controls. The IP08 will have a "Naviscroll" interface where the Eitri gets haptic (vibration) feedback and pressure sensitivity. Neither is yet known to have multi-touch input.

While unconfirmed, the news would make Nokia only the second company outside of Apple to have plans for multi-finger touch controls and may run against the latter's willingness to defend its patents on some of the underlying concepts. Palm's Pre is the first to overtly challenge the iPhone using a similar input format and believes it's immune to patent challenges based on its history in touchscreen devices, which extends back to the original Palm Pilot.

The Nokia revival would come from a claimed ramp-up in chipset production starting in March that would help phones releasing during the spring, potentially including one or more of the new touch devices. An increase hints that the company believes the cellphone industry will recover from the slow economy more quickly than before, even though the company doesn't expect strong performance at the very start of the year.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What's this Multi-Touch

    that Nokia is going to use? I thought that Apple had some sort of rights to that name and only Apple products could use the name Multi-Touch. I'm sure I had seen that mentioned somewhere last year. I'm sure anxious to see if Apple's Multi-Touch patent is going to hold up in court since it's been suggested that it wouldn't stop other companies from using it. There'll be some interesting times ahead.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: What's this

    Multi-touch is a name, not the technology. Apple didn't invent the 'multitouch' display or anything, they just used it in their phones. So they have trademarks on that and probably how it is used in relation to everything else with the phone.

    But that doesn't mean no one else can use it with their phone.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Software patents . . .

    Nokia sell a lot of phones outside the US, and many EU jurisdictions don't allow software patents ( mathematical formulae and algorithms cannot be patented) - so it's possible they just don't bother challenging Apple directly in the US.

    That said, there may be other patented technology in the iPhone - for instance, the touch-screen itself is likely to be a patented technology, and Apple could have paid the manufacturers rights for exclusive use.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: software patents

    for instance, the touch-screen itself is likely to be a patented technology, and Apple could have paid the manufacturers rights for exclusive use.

    I can't imagine the amount of money that would've needed to be paid to said company to get them to give exclusive use of such tech. Possibly exclusive to 'cell phones', but I doubt that too.

    But why bother? Apple believes the hardware doesn't make the product, the software does. The hardware just has to look nice and work well. As such, they wouldn't think it be important to get an exclusive license for the touchscreen, or anything else, because they would believe that Apple is the only one who can use it well.

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