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Intel, Symbian to team on gadgets

The companies are joining up to recruit software developers and hardware manufacturers to build devices with their respective technologies as competition for wireless alliances rolls on.

Intel and Symbian are joining up to recruit software developers and hardware manufacturers to build devices on their respective technologies as competition over alliances in the wireless world rolls on.

Under the pact, Symbian, which markets the Symbian operating system for wireless devices, and chip giant Intel will work with software companies to develop applications for mobile phones and handheld computers that depend on Symbian's OS and chips from Intel.

The two also will work to port the OS to Intel's Personal Internet Client Architecture (PCA), a blueprint for developing wireless devices based on Intel chips.

Intel and Texas Instruments are dueling for leadership of the market for mobile phone chips. Both are enticing developers, telecommunications carriers and hardware manufacturers with investments, technological support and other incentives.

On Tuesday, for instance, TI announced that it was opening development centers for software makers interested in porting applications to OMAP, a design that competes with PCA. Both companies also have set up venture funds for communications start-ups.

So far, Nokia, Ericsson, Sony and Handspring, among others, have endorsed OMAP, while British Telecom, Symbian and a number of contract manufacturers have endorsed PCA. None of these relationships is exclusive. Palm already has said it will work with both.

To date, Symbian's software has largely found success with cell phones. Future Symbian-Intel devices, however, will likely combine attributes of both cell phones and personal digital assistants, a trend in the industry.

"Adding Symbian to the growing roster of companies supporting Intel PCA is a key milestone for us, as we work with the industry to help bring true data applications capability to mobile devices," Ron Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Wireless Communications and Computing Group, said in a statement.