Sony, Sun to sign with Symbian?
It's about time another big win was announced - maybe they'll sing at CEBit
Smartphone and communicator software developer Symbian seems poised on the brink of another major licensing deal, according to London market rumour over the past week. Both Sun and Sony have been mentioned, although this may well be based on the "I can't tell you, but it's a company beginning with S" class of tip. Psion shares kicked upward last week on the strength of an interview with Symbian CEO Colly Myers. Myers was quoted as saying that Symbian had several major unannounced licensees. A Symbian spokesman however was quick to stress that the company indeed has numerous licensees who will announce when they're ready to launch product. These licensees aren't necessarily going to end up as shareholders. Symbian spun out of Psion last year as a joint venture between Psion, Nokia and Ericsson, with Motorola joining in quickly afterwards. The dominant nature of the cellular partners plus the efficiency of Symbian's EPOC low resource operating system make it inevitable that a clutch of major partners will either have joined in already, or will do so in the near future. CEBit in March would be a logical time to announce, if the leaks don't get there first. Sony would be an interesting win for Symbian. Sony is one of the players in the CDMA market, and if it went for EPOC might well end up providing Symbian with some interesting leverage into the Qualcomm-Microsoft joint venture, WirelessKnowledge. This is frequently viewed as a potential Symbian rival, although WK itself (enough of these stupid long names) claims to be platform-agnostic. Sun would be interesting in other directions. Sun has ambitions when it comes to mobile telephony and Java, but isn't what you'd call a veteran player in the market. It could use a partner. The current shipping version of the Symbian platform, the Psion Series 5, is not what you'd call Java-ready. An intention was announced at its launch almost two years ago, but The Register's sources wrote the 5 off as not being powerful enough for Java some while back. So an upgrade due? ®
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