Motorola is creating a European Research and Development Centre in Turin, Italy the company announced yesterday.

Motorola opened a smaller research centre in Turin a year and a half ago, and plans to greatly expand on that operation with a further US$100 million investment. The expansion will create 500 new jobs over the next five years, according to Motorola spokeswoman Una Kent.

"The primary decision factor was our relationship with the Polytechnic of Turin. The school has an amazing wealth of talent and offered exactly what we needed," Kent said.

Motorola will be using the research centre to develop personal communications products directly aimed at the European market. "Motorola is really stretching its vision of bringing the Internet to wireless. Europe is a big part of that," Kent said.

Europe is an important market for Motorola's communications products. Yesterday, the company announced that it had successfully completed trials of high-speed data transfer over a GPRS (general packet radio service) network on Sept. 9. The tests were done in Lille, France with France Telecom's research and development laboratory, CNET. The GPRS system will now be used on the company's Itineris network, Motorola said in a release issued yesterday.

Bluetooth connectivity should be added next year by France Telecom, Motorola said. Bluetooth is a technology that allows wireless connectivity between devices such as mobile phones, PCs and handheld computers.

Emil Abirascid contributed to this story from Italy.