October 6, 2004 7:44 AM PDT

Nokia makes inroads into Land Rover

Nokia has created a communications system that integrates mobile phone functions with the on-board system in Land Rover vehicles.

The product dubbed, Personal Telephone Integration, was developed specifically for Land Rover vehicles, including the Discovery 3 and Range Rover. It is slated for introduction in the United States, Europe and Asia before year's end, the companies said Wednesday.

The system is designed to let consumers access a mobile phone address book, make and receive calls, and manage text messages via the car's "central infotainment display." Voice dialing and other functions can be activated using steering wheel controls.

Connectivity can be provided either via a Bluetooth device or a wired phone holder. Customers will be able to use the system with mobile phones from different manufacturers, Nokia said.

In recent years, technology companies have been teaming up with automakers to put their entertainment and communications devices into new cars. Apple Computer recently partnered with BMW to integrate the iPod music system into cars. Microsoft and Fiat are working on a similar initiative.

But such efforts may run afoul of authorities, who see the use of cell phones in moving cars as a hazard. Some states have already banned the use of mobile phones--even hands-free--while driving.

"We are confident the?system we developed for Land Rover will meet with the expectations of Land Rover customers by seamlessly integrating some of today's leading-edge technologies such as voice recognition and wireless connectivity, to name but a few," Marcus Stahl, a Nokia manager of automotive products, said in a statement.


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