June 15, 2000 12:25 PM PDT

Motorola teams for mobile online shopping

Telecommunications giant

Gartner analyst James Lundy says new bar code technology could open the floodgates for more online buying worldwide, but there are some technological and habitual hurdles to overcome.

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Motorola is teaming with two other companies to transform cellular phones into handy tools for online shopping.

Motorola, Symbol Technologies and European database maker Connect Things will invest $500 million to launch a venture that will incorporate Symbol's bar code technology in Net-ready devices, including mobile phones.

The technology will allow shoppers to scan a bar code--a series of black vertical lines of varying thicknesses typically found on retail products. After a device reads the code, it will connect to an Internet site where more information on the product can be found. Bar codes for products are also expected to appear in newspaper and magazine advertisements.

The companies did not disclose the amount each firm is investing in the venture. The scanning technology is expected to appear in devices by the end of the year.

Stockholm-based Connect Things, an affiliate of Ericsson, brings a database of bar codes and European Web addresses that link to products, services and other online content to the deal. Holtsville, N.Y.-based Symbol makes mobile scanning technology for wireless appliances.

The venture will also tap technology from AirClic, a company that helps hardware and software makers develop products that let customers to buy goods and services online using mobile devices.

Earlier this week, Motorola unveiled its first products based on a new wireless standard that connects handheld computers, mobile phones and other devices together and to the Internet.

 

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