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Psion, Motorola to co-develop Symbian Internet devices

One day, the Symbian boys will stop agreeing for long enough to actually build something...

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Motorola has finally made a public commitment to developing devices based on Symbian's EPOC. Psion today revealed that it has signed an agreement with Motorola to co-develop a range of mobile Internet access devices, for launch in the first half of 2001. Although both companies are founder shareholders of Symbian (Motorola was slightly late, but we'll stretch the point), Motorola has been slow in getting down to the specifics of devices using Symbian technology, while the other two founders, Nokia and Ericsson, have seemed somewhat more forward-looking. Motorola of course has the disadvantage of having its own semiconductor business to support, and Symbian's ARM platform is a rival to this. But in joining Symbian the company was tacitly admitting that it couldn't go it alone, and sooner or later its announcement of a Symbian product roadmap was inevitable. But is it later? If the company actually ships in first half 2001 (a big if) it quite possibly won't have missed much. Nokia and Ericsson both have stuff to strut before that, but the wonderful world of wireless Internet isn't really quite as close as some people think. WAP-enabled phones aren't shipping in volume yet, while WAP itself is going to remain a moving target for most of this year. Meanwhile GPRS (General Packet Radio System), which will be the other great wireless Internet enabler (for GSM territories), will only start deployment from the middle of this year. So from where we're sitting, 2001 doesn't look that late at all. ®

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