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11/10/2006
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Deals Are Ringing Up

For a measure of how the smartphone market is going mainstream, look at two recent deals by major players in the conventional cell phone market.

Smart PicksCell phone maker Sony Ericsson is acquiring UIQ Technology, a subsidiary of Symbian, the world's leading mobile operating system provider. UIQ Technology has an interface and application development platform for the Symbian OS, which it licenses to mobile phone makers. Sony Ericsson's a bit player in smartphones, with 3% of the market, according to researcher Canalys, but the acquisition could help it compete with market leaders such as Nokia and RIM, giving Sony Ericsson the tools to launch more-advanced smartphones.

Vodafone, the mobile service provider, signed a deal with Microsoft to develop new smartphone applications and content. Vodafone within five years will support just three smartphone operating systems: Windows Mobile, Symbian, and Linux. Vodafone will offer the first smartphone with software from the Microsoft pact in the first half of next year, made by Samsung.

People are ready to push smartphones beyond e-mail, into Web browsing and interacting with business apps. Phone makers are hustling to give them what they want.

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