UK palmtop maker Psion plans to form a joint venture with content provider United News and Media (UNM) to target the predicted market for enriched mobile internet services.
The venture, called Trivanti, will start with capital of £9.5m, including £3.15m cash from Psion and £4.75m cash from UNM.
Trivanti will incorporate Psion Internet and its Psion.net website, and Wap portal Fonedata, which Psion today said it has agreed to acquire. These assets account for capital of around £1.6m.
The new venture will roll out services later this year aimed primarily at professionals using content from the 40 sites under the umbrella of Xilerate, UNM's £270m European online operation. It plans to generate revenues through subscription, pay-per-use, advertising/sponsorship, transaction commission, direct marketing services and corporate service sales.
Both Psion and UNM will own a 47.5 per cent share of the company, with the remaining five per cent investment made up by Gareth Hughes, the current Psion Internet chief, who will become Trivanti's chief executive.
Hughes is joined by Andrew Nugee, chief operating officer of Xilerate, as chairman, and Fonedata's Simon Luttrel as chief technology officer. Psion managers Mike Wood, Helen Blackburn and Justin Stokes will also make the switch, and a commercial director will be appointed from within UNM.
The move is effectively a £9.5m gamble on the projected take off of the next generation of mobile phones. These will more closely resemble mobile mini-computers than pure phones, allowing users not only to talk, but to send and receive email, pictures, music and video.
Hughes told vnunet.com: "We think they'll be a 100 million users of enriched mobile phone services by 2003, wanting personalised, time-focused services for their mobile devices. For example, we could send video clips of test match wickets to cricket fans as they happen."
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