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Palm confirms Motorola, Nokia smartphones axed

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Six months after we broke the news that Motorola's PalmOS smartphone was being deep-sixed, Palm has finally come clean and admitted the product will not now appear.

Palm has also axed its Nokia collaboration, which would have seen the Palm UI running on Symbian's core OS. Palm's share price fell by 18 per cent on the news on Friday.

The Motorola collaboration was announced almost a year ago today, and the plan was to release a tri-band GSM smartphone by early next year.

By April the project looked like it was in deep water, and shortly afterwards Motorola disappeared from the list of Palm's 'wireless partners'. Officially, it continued to claim that all was well.

Motorola axed its smartphone collaboration with Psion, a move that contributed heavily to the British PDA pioneer withdrawing from the consumer device market. But Moto launched its less-ambitious, but well-received Accompli 008 earlier this year.

"Ideas that had strong currency a year ago, even months ago, sometimes cannot be justified going forward," said Carl Yankowski, Palm's CEO, justifying the move. He said the Nokia/Palm collaboration would have been a TDMA device, and that Nokia was focusing on GSM.

"We have made the decision to focus on other types of Symbian- based smartphones for the US market," a Nokia spokesperson confirmed to us.

"Since the US is adopting GSM, we feel that devices such as the Nokia 9290 Communicator for GSM 1900 will be in higher demand."

PalmOS licensee Handspring is pursuing the US GSM market with the Visorphone and its successor.

The double whammy leaves Palm's wireless ambitions geographically isolated. Samsung and Kyocera are Palm's smartphone partners, but both devices will only operate using CDMA air interfaces, which are little used outside South Korea and the United States. ®

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