I.B.M. to Invest $100 Million in Cellphone Research

I.B.M., long synonymous with the personal computer, hopes to become equally influential in mobile computing.

The company plans to announce Wednesday a $100 million investment pool to develop new services for mobile phones. The company provided few specifics about its research goals but said it broadly hopes to improve mobile payment methods, security, privacy and user interfaces and, chiefly, to enhance the ability of corporations to use mobile devices to interact with customers and employees.

In developing such a fund, IBM is tagging behind venture capitalists, mobile phone manufacturers and carriers that have created big pools of research and investment money for the mobile space. The growth of more advanced phones that give consumers easier access to the Internet has spurred their interest, as has corporations’ hopes of turning mobile gadgets into platforms for content delivery and commerce.

In a press release, IBM picked up on the trend that the personal computer was no longer the center of the action.

“Mobile devices are gradually becoming ubiquitous and helping us transcend many boundaries — geographical, economic, and social, among others,” says Dr. Guruduth Banavar, global leader of the mobile communications focus for I.B.M. Research and director of I.B.M. Research–India

I.B.M. said it hoped its research would serve “the millions of people who have bypassed using the personal computer as their primary method of accessing the Internet and instead use their mobile devices for managing large forces of enterprise field workers, conducting financial transactions, entertainment, shopping and more.”


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