Motorola and Palm to work together to combine phones and organizers

Monday, September 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SCHAUMBURG, Illinois -- Motorola Inc., the No. 2 maker of cellular phones, said it will develop phones with Palm Inc., the No. 1 maker of electronic organizers, in the latest bid to combine functions of phones and organizers.

The products, expected to be released in 2002, will let users access Internet data over new high-speed wireless networks currently under construction, the companies said. They declined to say how many engineers will work to develop the phones or how sales will be shared.

The move comes as other companies look to develop combinations of phones and organizers, some of which will be available by year-end. Handspring Inc., which makes organizers based on Palm's operating system, said last week it will introduce an expansion pack used for making phone calls. Phone-maker Kyocera Corp. is also working on making phones that use Palm's software for managing calendars and phone numbers.

"What will be possible from an application perspective on these high-speed networks will be fundamentally different" than current products, said Alan Kessler, Palm's co-chief operating officer.

He said users may be able to download video and other large files from the Internet once the networks are up and running.

The agreement follows a Motorola investment in Palm. Motorola purchased 1.71 million shares for $65 million as Palm held its initial public offering in March.

Phone maker Nokia Oyj, which has also licensed Palm's operating system, also bought 2.11 million shares.

The products developed by Palm and Motorola will use the global system for mobile communications, or GSM, digital wireless standard, which is dominant in Europe and less used in the U.S. The companies also said they will also develop phones that work with other standards.

The new high-speed wireless networks under construction use a system called General Packet Radio Service, or GPRS.