Leading mobile communications products manufacturers partner with Psion to create major engine of growth for Wireless Information Devices
Symbian formed to establish new product categories, license wireless software to all industry players and drive open standards for Wireless Information Devices.
LONDON, United Kingdom - June 24th, 1998 - It was announced today that Ericsson, Nokia and Psion have conditionally agreed to form a new joint venture called Symbian. This agreement is further strengthened by the support of Motorola who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to join Symbian.
The creation of Symbian represents a significant step forward for consumer and corporate users of mobile technology. The world mobile phone market is projected to grow to more than 600 million users by 2002. Symbian aims to take a leadership role in the rapidly expanding Wireless Information Device market. Symbian will enable its owners and licensees to create user friendly Wireless Information Devices, such as Smartphones and Communicators - two new classes of affordable digital devices which will dramatically increase the user benefits of mobile computing and communications. Symbian will seek to drive the convergence of mobile computing and wireless technology, enabling Internet access, messaging, information access, all within a device which fits in a shirt pocket.
Initially Psion will own 40% of Symbian with Ericsson and Nokia each owning 30%. Symbian’s new investors will provide additional resources and expertise. Symbian intends to license its EPOC operating system to other Smartphone and Communicator manufacturers. EPOC is a non-proprietary scalable operating system for mobile Wireless Information Devices that provides commercial and technological advantages for licensees, including customisable user interfaces, color support, advanced Internet connectivity, and officially accredited and award-winning PC connectivity software.
The newly appointed CEO of the company, Colly Myers, comments "Symbian is the start of a new co-operative approach between the world’s leading innovators in the mobile voice and data market. We plan to establish EPOC as the de facto operating system for mobile Wireless Information Devices and further drive innovation and market growth."
Commenting on the Symbian joint venture, Psion’s chairman David Potter said, "The worlds of mobile computing and mobile communications are converging and this transaction positions Symbian at the forefront of this convergence. Symbian aims to establish Psion’s EPOC as an industry standard operating system for Wireless Information Devices. We look forward to other global technology firms joining us as investors in Symbian."
Pekka Ala-Pietilš, President of Nokia Mobile Phones, comments "One of the main principles of Symbian is to maintain and promote the top-level usability and scalability both in products and concepts. As an uncompromised application platform, EPOC forms a reliable and innovative path towards the next generation mobile communications devices. For Nokia, the global leader in wireless data, it is a natural step to be a partner in founding Symbian, a step that will take wireless devices into the next millennium."
"Ericsson is fully committed to working with industry partners in bringing about an open common software standard for the benefit of users everywhere. We are also committed to making best use of our technology in providing the best products for our customers", says Johan Siberg, President of Ericsson Mobile Communications AB. "Our ownership of Symbian is absolutely in line with this and I am excited about being part of a joint venture company that will deliver major benefits to this ever-growing market." he adds.
"Motorola is pleased to announce its intentions to become a member of Symbian", said Fred Kuznik, President Motorola Cellular Subscriber Sector. "We are deeply committed to global standards to ensure the continued growth of the wireless industry. Symbian’s efficient EPOC operating system will enable the addition of rich functionality to wireless devices without compromising product performance and reliability. We are convinced this will be an important element to creating the connectivity solutions our customers will desire and demand."
Symbian intends to expand its EPOC licensing, support and development activities, ensuring a clear distinction between ownership of the company and licensing activities. The core focus of the new company will be to license EPOC for a variety of Communicators - information centric products with voice capability, and Smartphones - voice centric devices with information capability.
Colly Myers, CEO of Symbian continues "EPOC offers major advantages to manufacturers who need to remain competitive and work within a market standard while retaining their own product differentiation. From a technical perspective, this is made possible with EPOC’s scalability and customisable user interfaces."
Crucial to the development of the market for Wireless Information Devices is a focus on open architectures. Setting de facto industry standards will increase inter-operability between devices and ultimately consumer choice. Symbian will work to facilitate key mobile standards and technologies such as Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), Java and Bluetooth, ensuring greater flexibility for licensees and thus encouraging the proliferation of Smartphones and Communicators that will benefit corporate clients and consumers alike.
Symbian will seek to ensure that key participants in the wireless industry collaborate on creating a new market for affordable and powerful Wireless Information Devices and 3rd party software solutions. Symbian will be establishing clear product categorisations, within which licensees and Independent Software Vendors are being encouraged to develop differentiated product offerings.
Notes for Editors
A Press Conference will be held from 1200 GMT today at the Chamber of Shipping, Carthusian Court, 12 Carthusian Street, London, EC1
Further details on the formation of Symbian may be obtained from Symbian’s website at www.symbian.com
About Symbian Ltd.
Symbian licenses, develops and supports the EPOC operating system - providing leading software, user interfaces, application frameworks and development tools for Wireless Information Devices such as Communicators and Smartphones. Symbian aims to promote standards for the interoperation of Wireless Information Devices with wireless networks, content services, messaging and enterprise wide solutions. With headquarters in London, and offices in Kanazawa, Japan and the San Francisco Bay Area, USA, Symbian is owned by Ericsson, Nokia and Psion. Symbian’s website can be found at http://www.symbian.com/
Ericsson's 100,000 employees are active in more than 130 countries. Their combined expertise in fixed and mobile networks, mobile phones and infocom systems makes Ericsson a world-leading supplier in telecommunications. Ericsson website is at http://www.ericsson.com/
Motorola is one of the world's leading providers of wireless communications, semiconductors and advanced electronic systems, components and services. Major equipment businesses include cellular telephone, two-way radio, paging and data communications, personal communications, automotive, defense and space electronics and computers. Motorola semiconductors power communication devices, computers and millions of other products. Visit Motorola at http://www.mot.com/
Headquartered in Finland, Nokia is a broad-scope telecommunications company supplying mobile phones, mobile and fixed telecommunications networks, data communications solutions, multimedia terminals and computer monitors. With sales in 130 countries, net sales totaled FIM 52.6 billion ($9.8 billion) in 1997. Nokia, listed on NYSE (NOK.A), employs more than 38,000 people worldwide. Visit Nokia on web: http://www.nokia.com/.
About Psion PLC
Psion PLC is a Financial Times Top 500 company and winner of both the Queen’s Awards for Technological Achievement and the Queen’s Award for Export. To date, Psion has shipped over 2.5 million mobile computers and rugged handhelds world-wide and it continues to lead the field in the development of handheld business solutions. Psion has over 40 international distributors throughout the world. Psion’s website may be found at http://www.psion.com/.
Symbian and the EPOC logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symbian Ltd. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners