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Ericsson unveils Symbian-based palmtop

First computer using Symbian technology boosts Psion

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Mobile phone maker Ericsson today unveiled the first palmtop computer based on Symbian technology. Symbian founder Psion -- the other backers are Motolora, Ericsson and Nokia -- will be manufacturing the Ericsson MC218, which is due to ship towards the middle of the year. Symbian's contribution is the EPOC operating system (developed originally by Psion) and its wireless Internet access software. The connection to the Net is made through an infra-red link to an Ericsson mobile phone. Ericsson's move is a shot in the arm for Symbian -- formed to develop a cellphone-oriented alternative to Windows CE and the Palm platform -- but is an even bigger boost for Psion. The British palmtop producer has built up a significant userbase for its Series 3 line of organisers. But the company has been hit by the massive popularity of the 3Com's Palm line of handheld organisers and the expectation that Windows CE will carve out a huge chunk of the palmtop market thanks to the Microsoft name and the technologies backers, all of whom have long been Psion competitors. Psion has said its future depends on Symbian's success. Psion has invested a lot of money in Symbian, but it stands to make even more if the technology takes off as a platform for data and voice-enabled mobile communications devices. ® See also Psion upbeat over year-end results Psion Dacom restructures business model Psion profit warning follows modem sales slump

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