NEC and Panasonic have established a joint venture to work on basic design and development of 3G cell phones.

Plans for the venture were first announced in July but the new company - to be called Esteemo - was formally announced today. The company is headquartered in Kanagawa, which borders Tokyo on the south west, and will opens its doors on 6 November with about 130 staff.

The two companies hope Esteemo will profit from cost savings by jointly developing a common hardware and software platform. Under the plan those platforms will be provided to NEC and Panasonic for customisation and development into cell phones.

NEC and Panasonic have been collaborating on Linux-based cell phones for DoCoMo's 3G service since 2001.