Psion has won a major victory over Microsoft's Windows CE operatingtorola. system, with the announcement of a joint venture to create smartphones using its operating system for handhelds.
Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola will join together with the PDA maker in the new initiative called Symbian, which is the reformed software arm of Psion, 69% of which has been sold to the phone companies.
Symbian will produce smartphones and similar products, which will be made by the phone companies, with Web browsing and Email capabilities which have been developed by Psion's software arm, using its EPOC operating system. Microsoft is aiming for a similar market with its Windows CE operating system.
The three companies who bought into the Psion venture each have an equal 23% share, which they bought for just under #20 million each.
Following news of this venture, Psion's share price leapt 50% despite warnings from the company over difficult trading conditions in the handheld market.
A spokesman for Symbian said: "We'll be making something with a keyboard.
It's the compactness and usability that we're going for. The phone companies are putting in their hardware expertise and we're providing the operating system. The products may have touch-sensitive screens, so handwriting recognition and voice recognition are also possibilities."
The CEO will be Colly Myers, former Psion managing director, who said in a statement: "Symbian is the start of a new co-operative approach.
We plan to establish EPOC as the de facto operating system for mobile wireless information devices and further drive innovation and market growth."
The first public release of EPOC32, in April last year, marked the beginning of the third generation of Symbian's, then Psion Software's, operating system.
- Psion last week also signed a separate alliance with networking firm Ascend. The companies aim to provide a bundled GSM phone package which should speed up and cheapen the download of data via mobile phones.
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