Motorola buying 50% of UIQ

Motorola has announced plans to acquire half of the company that owns the rights to UIQ, a clear sign that it intends to put more emphasis on this mobile platform.

Motorola has announced plans to acquire half of the company that owns the rights to UIQ, a user interface for Symbian smartphones.

There have been a couple of Motorola devices running UIQ, but today's announcement is a clear sign that it intends to put more emphasis on this mobile platform. However, a statement from the company was weak on details. Alain Mutricy, Senior Vice President, Platforms, Motorola Mobile Devices said, "Motorola's investment in UIQ will enable us to bring feature competitive multimedia devices to market. Its flexibility will enable us to bring devices to market that meet regional preferences or specific operator customization requirements."

What is UIQ?
A great many smartphones use the Symbian OS, but this operating system only provides the back-end functionality for these devices. Device makers have to come up with a user interface to allow customers to actually use the handset. Most of the time, manufacturers choose to license an already existing user interface. Among their options are UIQ and Nokia's S60 (formerly known as Series 60).

UIQ is for smartphones with touchscreens, while S60 is for touchscreen-less devices.

The vast majority of models based on UIQ are made by Sony Ericsson, and earlier this year it acquired UIQ Technology AB, the Swedish software company responsible for developing and licensing the UIQ user interface. Now 50% of this company will be sold to Motorola for an undisclosed amount.

Both companies have agreed that UIQ will be vendor and chipset independent. In addition, UIQ will be licensed on equal terms to all mobile device vendors in the industry. Sony Ericsson and Motorola say they are committed to expanding the shareholder base of UI Holdings to include other handset vendors.

They also plan to significantly increase their cooperation and support for the UIQ developer program.

More information is available on the UIQ web site.

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