Sharp developing Epoc device says Japanese paper

Japanese electronic giant Sharp is developing a wireless Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) based on wireless consortium Symbian's Epoc operating system, according to the country's leading financial newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

Sharp's UK offices, however, deny any knowledge of the plans. "There have been no official releases. I've only seen the article," said a spokesperson for the company. "It all sounds very vague, more like gossip."

According to the newspaper report, that the device will be available in Europe early next year, before it is released. It also says Sharp will build EPOC into its Zaurus platform.

If Sharp does favour Epoc over rival wireless operating systems such as Microsoft's Windows CE, it will strengthen Symbian's position in the market.

Alison Mackenzie, an analyst at IDC, told ZDNet UK: "If this is true, it could mean Sharp will join the Symbian alliance. It could indicate Sharp are looking to better there European presence, and Symbian have been pressing very hard to get their Epoc platform on as many products as possible."

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