Support for Psion handheld venture Symbian appears to be wavering as yet another member of the consortium signed a deal with a rival firm.
Motorola today announced it has taken minority equity holding in 3Com's handheld subsidiary Palm Computing, which filed for an initial public offering (IPO) late yesterday.
The two companies have also signed a deal that will see Motorola licensing the Palm operating system.
Merle Gilmore, president of Motorola's Communications Enterprise, commented: "We see a whole new category of wireless devices emerging that combine popular PDA platforms with wireless communications. By combining the widespread appeal of the Palm operating system with the exploding demand for wireless communications, we will be able to provide people with the personal networking capabilities they want and need."
The deal comes only a year after Motorola became a shareholder in the Symbian smart phone joint venture, which promotes Palm rival the Epoc operating system for wireless information devices.
In a statement issued today, the company said it remains committed to the alliance and is working with both Symbian and Palm to, "provide the leading platforms customers demand."
Diana Hwang, programme manager of IDC's mobile research division, commented: "I don't think this means that support for Symbian is falling by the wayside, but I think we'll see it play out in different form factors."
"Epoc may do well in smart phones, but in handheld devices it may hold a smaller niche. Epoc has a strong following in Europe, but Palm is definitely the volume driver in the US," she added.
The deal comes less than a week after another Symbian member, Ericsson, signed a deal with Microsoft to launch a new company to market and deliver mobile email solutions for network operators. Microsoft's handheld operating system Windows CE is another rival in the market.
Despite signing the deal with Symbian arch rival Microsoft, Ericsson also said the venture would not affect its partnership with other companies, such as Nokia and Psion in the Symbian tie up and that it did not include joint development or licensing of operating systems.
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