Nokia and 3Com's Palm Computing will jointly develop products that wed the pen interface of handheld Palm computers with wireless phones, the companies announced yesterday. Palm and Symbian also announced plans to co-operate, and potentially license each other's technology.

Under the agreement, announced at Geneva's Telecom 99, Nokia will license the Palm OS and develop pen-based wireless devices that can run Palm applications, Anssi Vanjoki, senior vice president for Europe at Nokia Mobile Phones, said at a press conference. The first Nokia pen-based phones will hit the US in 2001, followed by a worldwide roll-out, he said.

The two companies will jointly develop an implementation of the Palm OS, running on top of the EPOC 32 kernel from Symbian, which used in Nokia's "smart phones". In addition to new pen-based products from Nokia, the joint development will produce new wireless communications capabilities for future Palm branded and licensed products, including implementations of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) and Bluetooth technology for wireless local area networking, said Alan Kessler, president of Palm Computing.

Symbian is a joint venture of Finland's Nokia, Sweden's Ericsson, the UK's Psion, Motorola of the US, and Japan's Matsushita. It was founded to promote Psion's EPOC operating system for wireless information devices.