CEBIT: Samsung plans Symbian-based smartphone

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CEBIT: Samsung plans Symbian-based smartphone

Samsung has revealed that it is working on a "smartphone" that runs on Symbian's operating system, to add to its range of personal digital assistants and mobile phone hybrids based on OS software from Microsoft and Palm. This move makes it the first company to offer a portfolio of handsets with operating systems from the three rivals.

Jay Yeo, product planning manager for Samsung's wireless terminal division, at CEBIT in Hanover, said: "The software makers mind, but they can't force us to stick to one or two operating systems; we live in a free world."

Samsung will support the three platforms to offer the broadest choice possible to its customers, which will, initially, be corporate users, Yeo said. Users of PDAs based on Microsoft's Pocket PC OS will feel comfortable with a handset powered by Microsoft's SmartPhone 2002 OS, while Palm PDA users might prefer a Palm OS-based phone, he said.

Work has just started on the phone-cum-PDA based on the Symbian software, so a release date is not available, said Yeo. Meanwhile, Samsung plans to introduce handsets based on Microsoft's SmartPhone 2002 OS, previously known by the codename Stinger, and on the Palm OS in Europe in time for Christmas period, according to Yeo. Launch of a Palm OS-based Samsung device on the US market is imminent, he added.

Yeo showed a prototype of the SmartPhone 2002-based Samsung handset, a fliphone with a 176 by 220 pixel TFT (thin film transistor) display capable of displaying 65,536 colors. The device comes with flash memory and RAM, but Yeo declined to specify the amount of memory as that could change in the final product. The handset features a MultiMediaCard (MMC) slot for memory expansion, Yeo said.

Symbian software is used in mobile phones sold by some of its shareholders. The company, set up in 1998, is owned by Ericsson, Nokia, Matsushita, Motorola, Psion and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications.

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