Sharp, Panasonic, Fujitsu and NEC are planning to develop a standardized software platform for their cellphones.
The software will appear on next generation phones from NTT DoCoMo to be launched within the next two years. Chipmaker Renesas will also be involved.
It will be compatible with both the Symbian and Linux operating systems, say the companies, adding: "Compatibility with open operating systems such as Android also is under consideration."
The new platform will offer improved processing speeds for high-quality video and enhanced 3D graphics processing for advanced mobile multimedia functions, they say. It will be touted to other mobile phone makers worldwide.
The companies expect to cut the development cost of new phones by as much as 50 percent. Development would cost between $210 million and $320 million.
"In particular, the new platform will enable mobile phone manufacturers Fujitsu, NEC, Panasonic Mobile Communications and Sharp to avoid having to develop basic application-processing functions on their own, thereby allowing them to significantly reduce development time and costs and conversely invest more time and resources in the development of manufacturer-specific handset features," said the companies.
Currently, the four handset makers between them have a significant domestic market share - as much as 70 percent, says the Nikkei business daily. But they show a poor performance internationally, with only about two percent of the global market.