Nokia-led 3G phone project "

A joint project to develop a blueprint of a smartphone for fast 3G networks by Symbian, Freescale, Nokia and Elektrobit is on schedule, a senior official at Nokia, quoted by a Reuters report said.

'This is significant to all parties involved and it is on plan,' Matti Vanska, VP at Nokia's technology platforms business, told Reuters.  'The aim is to finish it next year."

British-based mobile phone software venture Symbian, US chip maker Freescale, mobile phone maker Nokia and Finnish electronics firm Elektrobit announced the joint project in February, the Reuters report said.

Symbian, which is jointly owned by some of the world's biggest mobile phone makers including Nokia, the main buyer of its software, said it expected handsets based on its 'reference design' in the first half of 2007, the Reuters report said.

The design, based on Freescale's single 3G phone chip, which will have Nokia's S60 software integrated into it, is set to open the market for mobile phone producers that currently lack the engineering strength to develop models on their own, the report said.