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Boom in Symbian handset shipments

The cell phone operating system maker is reaping the benefits of increased sales of smart phones.

Sales of Symbian smart phones have gone through the roof in recent months, giving the company a major financial boost.

The cell phone operating system maker announced on Thursday that 2.68 million Symbian-based handsets that are based on its software were shipped in the first six months of 2003. This is more than 10 times the number that it sold in the same period a year ago.

This pushed up the amount of money that London-based Symbian received from royalties on the sales of phones that use its software to 10.2 million pounds (about $16 million), up from about $2.4 million for the first half of 2002. It is a further indication that the smart phone market is booming. Symbian's overall revenues for the period totaled about $33.2 million.

Nine mobile phone makers either sell Symbian-based phones or are developing them--including Nokia and Sony Ericsson.

In a statement, Symbian said its performance for the rest of this year would be heavily dependent on the success of several forthcoming handsets that will use its software.

Research earlier this month showed that smart phones are eating into the market for handheld organizers, leading to a second straight year of decline in organizer shipments.

ZDNet UK's Graeme Wearden reported from London.