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Nokia to promote Wi-Fi portfolio on NYC parks


Nokia is partnering with WiFi Salon to provide hot spot connectivity in ten of New York City’s parks. The vendor, however, is hoping to provide more than just laptop wireless access--it plans to use the deal to showcase its Wi-Fi connected handsets.

In 2004, WiFi Salon won a contract with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to be the exclusive Wi-Fi provider for its properties. The project, however, languished for the last two years, but today Nokia said it has signed on as a sponsor of the project, kicking off service today in Battery Park in lower Manhattan and plans for additional coverage in parks throughout the five boroughs, including massive Central Park.

WiFi Salon is installing and managing the network, but due to Nokia’s financial backing, service using any Wi-Fi-enabled device would be free. While that would include any wireless laptop, Nokia is using the service as a showcase for its Wi-Fi connected handsets and phones. Nokia officials said it would seek local content partners that will offer Wi-Fi and handheld optimized content for free over the network.

“This is a great opportunity for Nokia to showcase the capabilities of our mobile multimedia devices,” Nokia multimedia director Floris van de Klashorst said in a statement. “Wi-Fi in the parks is an excellent way to pilot new services with our partners in the media industry, while New Yorkers can enjoy some of their favorite pastimes while in the park--such as reading the paper, listening to music or accessing the Internet--in an entirely new way.”

While Nokia has not yet announced any of those partners, it is promoting the first round of Wi-Fi devices. It has two N-series phones, the N80 Smartphone/PDA and the N91 Music Phone, as well as its Wi-Fi only Internet tablet, the Nokia 770.


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