Symbian yesterday introduced the next upgrade to its wireless handset platform.

By sheer dint of the parent companies that created Symbian, including Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, and Psion, the London-based Symbian is assured of major customers when it ships Version 6.0 of its platform.

As memory and processing power increases in mobile phones, developers will need a more robust platform to leverage the increased performance potential of future devices, according to a Symbian representative who said this platform was designed with that in mind.

For example Version 6.0 will allow developers to create such advanced features as speech-to-text recognition, handwriting, and pen-based applications.

Version 6.0 will also allow the handset manufacturers to offer colour screens that display 640x200 pixels and an easier-to-navigate graphical user interface.

In addition, the platform will support Bluetooth wireless networking technology.

Although all three of the handset manufacturers that helped create Symbian will incorporate the newest platform, Nokia will be the first, according to a Symbian representative.

The platform will also support the WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), WML (Wireless Markup Language), and HTML documents as well as providing developers a Java runtime environment.

Using Java, developers will be able to create Java-based applets that run on the phone rather than being only network connected.

Products incorporating the new platform are not expected to ship until the first half of 2001.