Innovation: Czech's are champions in mobile phone entertainment

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In the Czech Republic an extremely successful automorive industry is driving the economy along at a good speed and its traditional high technical standards are also attracting major Hollywood film productions. But the Czech Republic is unusually advanced in another area of technology - making games for mobile telephones. Czech programmers are developing and producing games for the whole region - and in some cases for the world.

Petr Litos is the 30-something CEO of the firm Nostromo. At the company's offices in a shabby Prague suburb, he tells me that many of their best-selling products are tied in with big international movie releases.

"The Lord of the Rings was the first one, and very good for the track record. Since then we have bought a couple of very nice licenses, the newest one is Shrek the Third, which we have exclusively for the region of central and eastern Europe, including Russian speaking countries. Garfield, that's our steady star, Mr Bean...we have worked with brands like James Bond. We also have some very strong local or regional brands in our portfolio, like the Czech originated Pat and Mat. Another is Nu pogodi from Russia."

As well as its regional products, Nostromo has exclusive world rights to Garfield the Movie games. But, whether at world or regional level, producing and delivering its products is extremely complicated.

"Nowadays a new game has to support more than 750 different mobile phones. That means we have to do about 120, 150 versions of every game. Some of them are pretty similar but some of them are very different. You have to handle problems like slow processors and small amount of memory in handsets. Mostly in big IT development if you have slow processors you have big memory, or vice versa. In mobiles you don't have the power, you don't have memory. And we have to find a way how to orchestrate everything internally, to be able to do things like launching Shrek simultaneously in 20 countries. We have to make it at the time of the premiere - always."

Nostromo isn't the only big player in Prague; another firm, Living Mobile, is the mobile games development wing of Walt Disney. And, says Petr Litos, with mobile still very much a buzzword, the sector is set to grow further in the Czech Republic.

"A lot of global companies or regional companies have development teams or are building development teams in Prague. There is such big demand for IT engineers, for programmers, that we are also thinking about having another team somewhere else. Because it's very, very tough these days."