Mobile-phone giant Nokia is trying to spur development on the Symbian software platform, the least popular of the three major operating systems battling to become the standard for smart, converged devices. Nokia, which owns a stake in Symbian, has started several initiatives including a competition for developing Symbian applications on its series of smart phones. The Symbian operating system has been losing market share in hand-held computers to Microsoft Pocket PC-based systems, as well as to Palm. As more converged devices come to the market with higher-bandwidth networks, Symbian is struggling to remain viable in the battle to become the standard operating system for smart phones. Smart phones are mobile phones that integrate functions in hand-held computers with wireless access to the Internet. Symbian is an independent company owned by Ericsson, Nokia, Matsushita, Motorola, Psion and Sony Ericsson. Ericsson, Nokia and Psion are already shipping devices using the Symbian OS. International Data Corp forecasts that Symbian-based devices shipped to the Asia-Pacific region will decline at a compound annual rate of 18 per cent between 2000 and 2005. Palm devices have a compound annual growth rate of 51 per cent, and Pocket PC devices 62 per cent for the same period. In February, Symbian received a boost when six new semiconductor companies - Agilent Technologies, Epson, Parthus, Philips Semiconductors, Samsung and STMicroelectronics - announced they would integrate the Symbian OS with their chips that use an ARM core, a technology that improves chip performance. Jouko Hayrynen, vice-president, Forum Nokia, said: 'We are very excited to see a rapidly growing number of software application developers embracing the Symbian platform and C++ language, which allows the creation of native Symbian applications.' He said the Symbian Applications competition attracted participants from China to Denmark. Winning entries included a flight information management application, a mobile office manager and mobile imaging. The Nokia Mobile Challenge contest began last November to spur developers worldwide to create Java and Symbian OS applications for Nokia's smart devices, such as the Nokia 7650 and Nokia 9200 Communicator series devices. It attracted more than 700 developers.