Matsushita, the Japanese company behind the Panasonic brand, has joined Symbian, the wireless operating system consortium going head to head with Microsoft's Windows CE.
The Japanese manufacturer will get an 8.8 per cent stake in Symbian in return for investing £22 million in the project. Symbian's other four members - Psion, Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola - will reduce their stakes to accommodate Matsushita.
Symbian is developing the Epoc 32bit small scale operating system - based on Psion's Epoc - for use on next generation mobile phones and portable computing devices.
The first wave of products using Symbian software are expected later this year. At the Cebit show in March, Ericsson demonstrated the MC 218, an Internet enabled mobile computing device based on Symbian. (see Newswire 18 March)
Matsushita claims to be the world's fourth largest manufacturer of mobile handsets. Its addition to Symbian will deal a further blow to Microsoft and give Symbian a significant boost in the Asia/Pacific region.
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