Why the future is in your hands (Cell Phone Offers Free)

Convergence has been the Holy Grail for mobile phone makers, software and hardware partners, as well as consumers, for more than a decade.

And for the first time the rhetoric of companies like Nokia, Samsung and Motorola, who have boasted of putting a multimedia computer in your pocket, no longer seems far fetched.

"Converged devices are always with you and always connected," said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia chief executive at last week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Last year Nokia sold almost 200m camera phones and about 146m music phones, making it the world's biggest seller of digital cameras and MP3 players.

In the coming year the firm predicts it will sell 35 million GPS-enabled phones as personal navigation becomes the latest feature to be assimilated into the mobile phone.

Form and function

Nigel Clifford, chief executive of Symbian, said: "All of those single use devices - MP3 players, digital camera, GPS - are collapsing onto the phone."

Chip shop

More than 90% of the world's mobile phones are powered by technology created by British firm Arm. It designs chip architectures that it licenses to semiconductors makers such as Qualcomm and Broadcom.

Ian Drew from Arm said future mobile phones demanded ever more processing power.

But building chips with greater processing was not a straightforward, he said.

Arm is demonstrating a chip architecture, called Coretex A9, that will offer four cores, or processors, on a single chip.

Symbian has been working with Arm on future uses for multi-core mobile phones.

"You can use massive amounts of processing if you need it. But if you don't you can power down the cores that aren't required," said Mr Clifford.

Symmetrical Multi Processing will drive the next generation of applications on a phone, he added.

Symbian is working on technology called Freeway to give phones the ability to move seamlessly between wireless networks, like wi-fi and cell networks like 3G and 4G.

"We don't want people to feel the mobile web is a second class experience.

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