Version 8.0 of Symbian's mobile phone operating system, launched at 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, could make for cheaper smartphones, as it takes on the duty of handling the radio as well as the phone applications.

The software also adds business-friendly features, such as remote management by IT staff.

The new operating system (OS) allows smart phone designers to build devices using a single processor for both applications and communications, and one operating system to handle both, the company said.

Most cell phones and smart phones have traditionally used two chips to handle the phone's basic functions. Phone platforms have used an applications processor to run the operating system, while tapping a separate chip to initiate and maintain the phone connection.

However, consumer demand for smaller devices with improved performance has led chip designers to consider single-chip products for their phones.

Texas Instruments, the leader in the cell phone processor market, sells both standalone applications processors, for instance in its popular OMAP platform, and combination modem/application processor chips. Intel entered the cell phone market last year with a single chip that integrates the modem processor core, the applications processor core and flash memory on a single die.

Symbian OS version 8.0 will now support those single-core processors, reducing the cost to build a Symbian phone, the company said. The new version also adds support for remote management by IT staff, the SDIO (Secure Digital I/O) expansion slot and hardware accelerators for multimedia applications.

Symbian is a London company founded by Psion and several cell phone industry giants, such as Nokia, Ericsson and Siemens, to develop an alternative smart phone OS to Microsoft's Windows Smartphone software. Symbian recently came under the control of Nokia, although the company maintains that Symbian can maintain its independence.