Nokia To Groove with Immersion’s VibeTonz

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Nokia, the world’s largest mobile handset maker, has licensed the VibeTonz from haptics developer Immersion, entering into a long-term worldwide agreement which will let Nokia put some shake, rattle, and rumble into its phones. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“This license with Nokia supports the potential for very widespread use of our VibeTonz System—and the VibeTonz System supports the potential for a much fuller, more multisensory experience for users,” said Immersion CEO Victor Viegas. “With VibeTonz technology, Nokia can very purposefully access the sense of touch and add value throughout the mobile device.”

Under the deal, Immersion will supply the VibeTonx developer kit to Nokia’s developer community beginning this month. Although it’s too early to say which Nokia products may incorporate VibeTonz technology, the company’s N-series of Internet-enabled multimedia devices are considered a likely candidate.

Immersion’s VibeTonz system is already used in selected LG and Samsung phones worlwide; the company also develops force-feedback and tactile technologies for game controllers, including Sony’s dual-shock controller. The company is currently working with Sony to bring “rumble” to the PlayStation 3—a move which is now the subject of a lawsuit from Microsoft.

The VibeTonz system can let phones and other devices provide tactile feedback to users in response to events or user actions. For instance, the LG Prada phone uses VibeTonz to create a small vibration when the onscreen keyboard is tapped, letting users know a character has been entered. VibeTonz can also be used to make a phone vibrate and shake with music, offer cues for incoming calls or dropped call, and make alerts more distinctive.