Users of Nokia phones can now synchronize their contact lists and calendars with an online calendar and address book.
The move brings Nokia closer to competing with other similar online services, including those from Apple and Microsoft, but also points to shortcomings the company faces because it is approaching the offerings as a mobile-phone developer as opposed to a software or online services developer.
For example, the new synching service doesn't connect to any existing calendar or address book that a customer might already use. Instead, a customer would begin using a new online calendar and address book from Nokia and synchronize that with the phone.
The new offerings create a service similar to Apple's MobileMe, but have some differences, too. Whereas MobileMe pushes changes to and from the iPhone, Ovi synchronizes the changes per user commands.
In addition to synchronization of calendars and address books, both Ovi and MobileMe also let users upload images from the device to an online site and remotely access files. MobileMe offers an e-mail service, but Ovi doesn't.
Ovi is free, except for a premium version of its file-access service, while MobileMe costs US$99 per year.
Microsoft also offers a free online service, Live Mesh, that lets users share files, programs and data among PCs and Windows Mobile phones.