DENVER, United States-L.M. Ericsson, Nokia Corp. and United Kingdom-based Psion Computers plc conditionally have agreed to form a joint venture called Symbian, and Motorola Inc. has signed a memorandum of understanding to join, said Ericsson.

Symbian aims to drive the convergence of mobile computing and wireless technology while taking a leadership role in the market for wireless information devices, such as smart phones and communicators.

Initially, Ericsson and Nokia each will own 30 percent of Symbian, with Psion owning 40 percent, and new investors will provide additional expertise and resources, Ericsson said.

Symbian anticipates licensing its EPOC operating system to other smart phone and communicator manufacturers, said Ericsson. EPOC is a non-proprietary scalable operating system for wireless devices that features customizable user interfaces, color support, advanced Internet connectivity and accredited personal computer connectivity software.

Symbian-in attempting to use EPOC as the standard to create a universally accepted platform for Internet access, messaging and other wireless transmission-is positioning itself as a direct competitor of the Windows CE operating system for the PalmPC. According to some analysts, going toe-to-toe with Microsoft Corp. is an admirable, yet dangerous, proposition.

However, the partners in the Symbian joint venture have considerably more wireless-related experience than Microsoft. If anything, the competition is expected to act as a catalyst to create an “unplugged information society.”

“Symbian is the start of a new cooperative approach between the world’s leading innovators in the mobile voice and data market,” said Colly Myers, the company’s newly appointed chief executive officer. “We plan to establish EPOC as the de facto operating system for mobile wireless information devices and further drive innovation and market growth.”


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