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August 13, 2008

Nokia embraces Ramadan on devices

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – We’ve all witnessed an overwhelming swell in the diversity and number of bite-size mobile apps over the past year, and today this is amplified with the launch of an entire suite of smart Ramadan apps focussed around the Holy Month.

Last year the Nokia team in Dubai launched a special edition of the N73 preloaded with a Ramadan application, which triggered a flood of positive feedback that focussed the team to now release an entire collection of free software and Ramadan-related services that will be downloadable globally as well as pre-loaded on a bunch of handsets in the Middle East including the new N78 – throughout August the N70 Music Edition, E51, 3120 Classic, 6500 Slide, 6300 and 2630 will become available with the Ramadan apps pre-loaded. Plus the apps are available to download onto eight other devices including the N95 and N82.

Personally what’s most interesting is the openness people have shown towards using mobile technology as a means of helping them practice their faith. And I guess this readiness to embrace such a set of tech tools comes from the simple fact that if you have a faith it’s something you carry with you, so what better place for this religious resource to sit than on the device that never leaves your side. In the case of these Ramadan apps, access to an easy-to-use written and spoken version of the Quran seems to me an extremely smart and invaluable reference tool. As does the Ramadaniat application, which is loaded with heaps of info on fasting and its rules, or the Emsakya app that alerts you with the daily Prayer, Suhour and Iftar times during Ramadan. There’s even an option to download Islamic landmarks across the Middle East to your phone that are accessible via Nokia Maps.

A Nokia site dedicated to Ramadan has also been launched, which can be visited at – it’s here that you can download all the apps and extras related to the Holy Month.

If you’re a Muslim, would you use these apps and services during Ramadan? And if you’re not, what are your thoughts on this crossover between mobile and faith – is it something you’d like to see applied to other religions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.