Motorola Inc.’s new smart phones for NTT DoCoMo Inc.’s Foma service will be powered by Symbian Ltd.’s operating system, ComputerWire has learned. The devices, which are set to reach the market next spring, are also the first announced to feature WiFi access alongside 3G.
Linux had seemed the most likely candidate for the phones, which will be aimed at the business market. Both Motorola and DoCoMo have previously stated their preference for Linux in future smart mobile devices
And while DoCoMo has also elevated Symbian OS to favored status, Motorola’s withdrawal from the Symbian shareholder family last August made the use of Symbian OS seem less probable, despite its stated continued commitment to Symbian as a licensee.
The official announcement of the Motorola/DoCoMo cooperation yesterday did not disclose the supplier of the handset’s OS. However, a source close to the project informed ComputerWire that Symbian had actually been chosen as the OS supplier for the as-yet-unnamed device. DoCoMo’s Foma interface, as used by Fujitsu Ltd. for its Symbian OS Foma handsets, will no doubt provide the basic UI for the machine.
Motorola was unable to respond to ComputerWire’s request for further information regarding the choice of OS before ComputerWire went to press.
Motorola and DoCoMo have put together a strong package in terms of the specification of their new handset that should increase its appeal to Japan’s business users, who have not been well served with smart phones to date.
Public WLAN access will presumably be enabled via an agreement DoCoMo also announced yesterday with hotspot aggregator and remote access provider iPass Inc covering 33 countries. The device’s WLAN and Foma network connectivity has been further bolstered by GSM and GPRS capabilities, allowing Foma network users to roam abroad for the first time.
Unlike most 3G services currently being rolled out around the world, DoCoMo’s Foma service was based on a non-standard version of WCDMA. Nor was it overlaid on a GSM/GPRS foundation, instead using the DoCoMo-specific PDC technology, a variation of TDMA.
According to the announcement, the device will also feature Bluetooth, a full web browser and attachment viewing software compatible with Microsoft Office document formats. Motorola’s previous deal with file viewing specialist Picsel Technologies Ltd. suggests that the Glasgow, UK-based vendor may be supplying the software, although this was unconfirmed. The browser is most likely either that of Symbian supporter Opera Software or Japan’s Access Co Ltd.