Symbian unveils new OS rev, Pearl

Bluetooth, GPRS, and W*P too

Symbian announced the latest revision of its OS today, and showed off the third member of the Symbian family Pearl.

Referred to internally as the 'packet data' release, the new release of what Symbian used to call Epoc (and almost everyone else still does) adds GPRS and Bluetooth support, and support for WAP 1.2.

Pearl is (inaudible)'s third reference design, and the one that up until now has been the most inaudible itself. But Pearl is the design that's expected to be the real high volume device: it's recognisably more phone than PDA.

Symbian expects to sign off on integration testing for ER6.1 soon, with products appearing in the second half of the year. Although Nokia's 9210 communicator due around the same time, will be based on the earlier ER.6.0 release of the OS. Citrix showed off an ICA client for the device at CeBIT today.

There's one more rev on the horizon: ER6.2 or 'global packet'. This provides support for CDMA, TDMA and Wideband CDMA, as well as GSM and GPRS, all through one abstracted API. 6.2 is slated to be released to licensees at the end of this year, with devices appearing in the middle of next year.

Despite very public demo's of Microsoft's Stinger phone, Symbian's VP of marketing Mark Edwards doesn't expect it to catch on:

"It's different to a high volume shipping product. Microsoft has gone a step and paid a company to make the phone: that's going to be a concern to the rest of the industry," he told us. ®

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