Nokia set to launch colour wireless organiser

9210 Communicator could beat Microsoft and Palm to market

A colour-screen personal organiser/mobile phone combination from Nokia and Symbian may beat rival products from Microsoft and Palm to market.

Nokia of Finland says it will launch the 9210 Communicator in March or April in Europe and Asia, offering a phone handset-like device which flips open to reveal a colour screen, wireless Internet access, email, and software for video, word processing, personal organisation and other functions.

Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system won't be available in a colour wireless device for another six months, according to hardware partner Compaq. Palm has a colour PDA but has not yet released a wireless version.

London-based Symbian, Microsoft and Palm are in a three-way race for the next generation of mobile devices combining the functions of a telephone and a handheld computer. If Nokia succeeds in getting the jump on Microsoft it would be a boost for Symbian's EPOC operating system, which already runs a combination phone-organiser from Ericsson.

However, industry experts point out that there is not yet a proven demand for such "converged" devices.

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