Qualcomm and Microsoft are to work together on porting the Windows Mobile operating system on to Qualcomm chips. The companies said that the co-operation would mean it would speed the time for products coming to market and, potentially, dropping the price of smart phones.

The support could also help lower costs for device makers. Handset manufacturers that use the integrated chips won’t have to buy a separate application processor, said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Gartner. "That will have an implication on the building material cost and it will drop that cost down," she said.

The collaboration is also likely to help Windows Mobile win inroads into markets like North America and parts of Asia where CDMA has a foothold, she said. CDMA is the mobile telecommunications technology developed by Qualcomm.

Microsoft and Qualcomm also say that their collaboration will help extend the battery life of devices running the integrated chips.

The chips are expected to become available to handset makers in the second half of this year and should hit shelves in 2007.

Microsoft introduced the latest version of Windows Mobile last year but a critical feature, push email, has only recently become available to users. Windows Mobile competes with other popular mobile operating systems including Symbian's, which has the bulk of the market share, and RIM's operating system.