3Com is expected to confirm plans to launch a smart phone product, in partnership with Alcatel, here at Cebit on Friday.
The GSM based smart phone, first revealed exclusively by VNU Newswire last year, will be debuted in Europe and could appear in the market before the end of this year.
3Com is saving the announcement for a news conference on Friday, but Janice Roberts, 3Com's vice president of marketing and business development, said Wednesday that the, "Alcatel and 3Com Palm business is going to expedite handheld computing and telephony."
Eric Benhamou, 3Com's chief executive, told VNU Newswire at the Comdex show in Paris last November that a 3Com smart phone would appear in 1999, combining the handheld computing technology of its Palm Pilot products with the mobile phone technology of a GSM vendor - now identified as Alcatel.
Alcatel and 3Com's far reaching alliance was announced Wednesday, the eve of the Cebit show. In addition to the smart phone, the companies will create an open forum to develop an API for connecting handheld computers and mobile phones.
The companies are also combining their server technology to develop a software platform for service providers wanting to provide value added fixed line and wireless services - such as unified messaging and mobile Web access.
Customers will soon see the first move towards a joint smart phone when the companies offer a combined package of a Palm Pilot and Alcatel One Touch mobile phone.
Limited information available ahead of Friday's launch refers to an eventual "single platform," which, "could result in the migration of GSM terminal functions to the organiser, or inversely, increased organiser functions on the terminal."
Alcatel already has a smart phone device, although it has not enjoyed anything like the success of the Palm Pilot. Other Palm Pilot deviants include the bar code reading Pilot co-developed by 3Com and Symbol Technologies.
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