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Nokia expands developer tools for CDMA

Handset maker extends developer support to all phones that use the standard, a move that could rankle CDMA leader Qualcomm.

SAN FRANCISCO--Nokia has expanded the scope of its software development tools, a move that could have it butting heads with Qualcomm in the North and South American cell phone markets.

Through Forum Nokia, the company is making available information for developers to create ring tones, games and other applications for all Nokia phones using CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), a cell phone standard popular in the Americas and parts of Asia. Up until a few weeks ago, Forum Nokia listed specifications for just less than half of its CDMA phones.

The primary benefit of the move is that developers can write a single version of a program and be assured it works on all of Nokia's CDMA phones, plus dozens of other Nokia phones using the more popular cell phone standard, Nokia Vice President Lee Epting said Monday during the JavaOne developer conference here.

The announcement is further evidence of Nokia's new emphasis on CDMA and North America. The Finnish handset maker rose to No. 1 worldwide in handset sales by making mainly GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) phones, which are more popular in Europe. But after running into stiffening GSM competition in Europe from Samsung and Sony Ericsson, Nokia is now looking to North America to make up for losses on its home front.

By extending developer support for its CDMA products, Nokia has made itself a more attractive focus for CDMA developers, Epting said. That puts it even more directly in the cross hairs with rival Qualcomm, which dominates the CDMA market and has a strong influence over the CDMA developer community.

A Qualcomm representative declined to comment.