Motorola and Palm to give the world a ‘smart’ phone

America’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, Motorola and Palm, a leading supplier of handheld computers, are joining forces to develop ‘smart’ mobile phones with built in Palm software.

The two companies signed an agreement to co-develop and co-brand the new generation of mobile phone.

The collaboration will lever Motorola’s wireless technologies, creative product line, and distribution channels with Palm’s core handheld functionality, web clipping technology for data-based access to content and services and its operating system, the Palm OS platform.

The co-operation will initially produce a tri-band GSM wireless smart phone, expected to be available early in 2002 at a price that is yet to be determined. Its shape will resemble a phone rather than like current Palm devices, officials of the two companies said.

The companies envision the device will contain a larger colour screen than standard mobile phones, and will include Palm’s HotSync software and over-the-air synchronisation using Motorola’s Starfish TrueSyn software.

This device, featuring General Packet Radio Service compatibility and Palm OS software, is expected to be the first in a series of smart phone products that Motorola and Palm will explore.

‘With premier licensees, over 100,000 developers and about 70 percent share of handhelds, the Palm platform is a driving force in the growth of the mobile Internet,’ said Carl Yankowski, chief executive officer of Palm.

The new device will be initially distributed through Motorola’s existing sales channels and Motorola plan to provide primary support for the product, including initial customer calls and warranty; Palm intend to supply software and operating system support.

Both corporations expect to support third-party developers and applications through Palm’s Developer Support Network and Motorola’s global network of Application Development Centres in Europe.