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January 15, 2009

Nokia Research Center is not a Willy Wonka phone factory

GLOBAL Nokia Research Center may conjure up visions of a kooky sprawling Willy Wonka lab for phones tucked away in an address-less wilderness, but the reality is in some ways far more engaging. Far from fantasy, with labs dotted across the globe in ten locations, including Beijing, Bangalore, Nairobi, Tampere, Helsinki, Lausanne, Cambridge UK, Cambridge USA, Hollywood and Palo Alto, the Nokia Research Center (NRC) is a huge operation that to many may feel intangible – partly because a number of the projects that are being researched are indeed secret, but mostly because the connection between NRC’s research and real-life end products has appeared pretty disconnected.

But a more tangible connection between NRC and the real world may be beginning to emerge, helped simply by the very recent launch of its newly designed and more openly engaging website. Click through for the full lowdown.

The new Nokia Research site does a great job of beginning to connect the dots between research development and end product, immediately highlighting NRC research showcase examples on the homepage – currently Nokia Friend View beta and Sports Tracker are featured, a pair of services that you mightn’t immediately associate with NRC.

Likewise, news of what’s happening in NRC is plastered front and centre, so if you’re even slightly interested in what’s going on over there you’re immediately hit with the latest goings on.

Similarly, NRC isn’t some closed shop when it comes to presenting concepts – again on the homepage there’s a section purely dedicated to Technology insight papers (you can download the full PDFs), including recent interesting papers on Nanoscience and the Mobile Device and Sensing the World with Mobile Devices. But we’ll look at those more closely in another article. Point is, if you’re interested in the inner workings of how many technology and mobile boundaries are being pushed within Nokia, NRC is a fascinating side door into much of the first-stage thinking that goes on.

Check out the new NRC site and let us know what you think. Here on Conversations we’ll continue to report on what’s going on over at NRC as we’re hooked on all that stuff, so if you just fancy dipping in and out make sure you click on our Future Technologies section, as that’s where you’ll find most of our NRC coverage.

One of the latest and most exciting projects in recent months at NRC is Nokia Locate Sensor. Click here to find out more.