Sales of smartphones are set to grow 12-15 percent in 2009, said Lee Williams, chief of the Symbian Foundation, the consortium of companies around the world's most popular smartphone operating system.

Smartphones are seen as a bright spot on the shrinking cell phone market this year, with some analysts forecasting above 30 percent market growth for phones with advanced capabilities like e-mail or Internet browsing.

For the first time people are realizing you don't have to carry your digital camera with you and your phone, for the first time people are realizing that you can do your email and access Internet services on your mobile phone, Williams said on Tuesday at the Reuters Global Technology summit in Paris.

He said larger display sizes and more memory for media such as music were also encouraging consumers to buy smartphones.

ARM, the world's leading chip designer, said on Monday it expects the smartphone market to grow 10 percent.

Williams said he expects membership of the foundation to grow to more than 100, excluding independent software vendors, by the end of the year. In February Symbian said it had 78 members.

The foundation inherits intellectual property from Nokia and other former shareholders of UK-based smartphone maker Symbian.

Nokia bought out other shareholders of Symbian last year, and committed to give all its software to an independent foundation, which will develop it on an open-source basis, meaning all members can freely use and adapt the code.

Symbian has lost market share for several quarters to new entrants like Apple and Google, but Williams said he expects to turn the trend.

(Reporting by Tarmo Virki)