Nokia acquires Novarra

Nokia, the world's largest handset maker, announced it acquired privately-held, Chicago-based Novarra. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Nokia said it will use Novarra's Web browsing technology on its low-end Series 40 handsets, and will introduce "a new service offering utilizing the Novarra technology platform" sometime later this year. The Finnish firm said the acquisition should close in the second quarter of this year.

The action is notable as it appears to imply that Nokia will add a server-based Internet transcoding technology to its low-end handsets, possibly intended to make Internet surfing easier and more satisfying for users of those phones. Novarra's technology essentially acts as a smoothing agent between large, unwieldy desktop Internet pages and relatively low-power mobile phone browsers attempting to view them. Further, Nokia's purchase adds several high-profile Novarra customers to Nokia's coffers, including Verizon Wireless, Yahoo and U.S. Cellular.

The acquisition of Novarra is the latest in a string Nokia has made recently. The company bought privately-held microsocial networking startup Plum last year; Dopplr, a privately-held mobile service provider for international travelers; and mobile software firm cellity.

Nokia is not the only firm boosting its Internet browsing efforts in the wake of Apple's iPhone. BlackBerry maker Research In Motion recently announced plans to introduce a WebKit-based Web browser for its phones at some point in the future.

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