News from the from the Associated Press:

• Wireless carriers unite on mobile apps project

BARCELONA, Spain — The world’s largest wireless carriers, including the four largest in the U.S., announced Monday that they are combining forces to make it easier for software developers to write applications that will run on as many phones as possible.

The "Wholesale Applications Community" is an attempt to retake the initiative from phone makers like Apple Inc., Nokia Corp. and Research in Motion Ltd., which have applications stores of their own. Google Inc. is also building a significant store for its Android software.

The 24 carriers in the community, announced here on the first day of the annual Mobile World Congress trade show, will let software developers write applications that will run on phones from many different manufacturers. While they won’t have a joint applications store, a developer will be able to submit an application and have it sold across several different carrier stores.

Applications for cell phones are a fast-growing market, yet developers face the problem that their products run on only a few phones. For instance, an application written for Apple’s iPhone won’t run on any other phones.

While developers may like the idea of writing applications that can run on multiple phones, it’s difficult to do so. They will also face the problem of making sure their applications will work on phones with different capabilities, button layouts and screen sizes. The Wholesale Applications Community will initially use two existing cross-platform standards, and hope to develop a single standard within a year.

U.S. carriers Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA are part of the group, which also includes major international peers NTT DoCoMo of Japan, America Movil of Mexico, Vodafone Group PLC of Britain and China Mobile. Together, the group serves 3 billion customers.

Phone makers LG Electronics Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Sony Ericsson are also supporting the group. Neither of them have major applications stores of their own.

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  • Intel, Nokia to combine mobile device software

Nokia and Intel say they’re combining their software for smart phones, tablet computers and other Internet-connected devices.

The new software, to be released in the second quarter, will be called MeeGo.

MeeGo would supersede Nokia Corp.’s Maemo, used in a few high-end phones.

It would also replace Intel Corp.’s Moblin, which it has been developing with an aim to get its own chips into phones and larger "mobile Internet devices."

MeeGo will arrive in a crowded market for smart phone software, which includes Google Inc.’s Android software and Symbian, already used by Nokia in many phones.

  • Samsung launches its own smart phone software – ‘bada’

Samsung Electronics Co., the largest maker of cell phones for the U.S. market, on Sunday revealed the first phone running Samsung’s own "smart" software system, bada.

With bada, Korea-based Samsung is taking the TouchWiz system used on its touch-screen non-smart phones and making it the basis of a smart phone platform to take on Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry. Samsung also makes phones based on other competing smart phone systems: Android, created by Google Inc., and Symbian, of which Nokia Corp. is a major backer.

J.K. Shin, the president of Samsung’s phone division, said the goal of bada was to expand the market for smart phones, making them available to people across the world who have made do with non-smart phones.

The new phone, dubbed the Wave, is a touch screen phone like the iPhone. It features a highly saturated, high-resolution screen using organic light emitting diodes, or OLEDs. Samsung said the phone will go on sale in April, but did not say if the U.S. would be one of the launch markets, nor did it say what the phone would cost.

To support the Wave and existing phones using TouchWiz, Samsung is launching online applications stores in 50 countries this year, including the U.S. Most major phone makers now operate applications stores, or make phones that use stores administered by others, like Google.

Samsung revealed the phone in Barcelona a day ahead of the start of Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest cell phone trade show.


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