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Baidu to bring box computing to Symbian devices

Mobile phone group Symbian and Chinese search engine Baidu are joining forces to develop a version of Baidu's box computing platform to run on mobile devices.

By teaming up with the Symbian Foundation, Chinese search engine Baidu is hoping to bring its vision of box computing to the mobile market.

On Tuesday, the two companies announced a joint venture in which they would develop a wireless box computing system to work with the Symbian mobile platform. First presented by Baidu last year, box computing bypasses a PC's traditional boot-up and operating system and instead offers users a search box as their starting point.

The goal of the new venture will be to provide mobile phone users with a single screen from which they can search the Internet as well as the applications on their smartphones.

To advance their research, Symbian will contribute its expertise with wireless smartphone platforms, while Baidu will supply its experience developing search engines. Under the agreement, Symbian will open up its technology to allow Baidu to develop wireless box computing within the Symbian middleware.

"Baidu has played a leading role in Internet services, especially in China, and we look forward to having them share their expertise with the growing Symbian community," said Lee Williams, Executive Director of Symbian, in a statement. "Additionally, we expect the integration of 'box computing' services in the Symbian platform to stimulate third-party developers worldwide to create a large body of innovative applications, leveraging Baidu's market-leading search and inquiry platform."

To help promote mobile box computing, Symbian and Baidu said they'll provide a box-computing platform to handset makers and carriers and encourage third-party developers to add box computing to their apps. The two also said they'll share the outcome of their Box Computing Joint Laboratory with the whole mobile industry and make it available through Symbian's open-source efforts.

The companies did not reveal details on how much money they would invest or how long the new venture might take to produce a marketable product.