TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Linux Coming to Your Mobile Phone Soon

Linux Coming to Your Mobile Phone Soon

Barry Levine (
Thu, 15 Jun 2006 15:22:01 -0500

Barry Levine,

Several leading mobile-device manufacturers announced Wednesday that
they plan to form an alliance to develop and support a global version
of Linux for mobile phones, PDAs, and other portable devices by the
end of 2007.

Handset makers Samsung, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, NEC, Panasonic, and
Vodafone said they were creating an independent, not-for-profit group
to spearhead the effort and share the costs.

The main operating systems for mobile devices include Microsoft
Windows Mobile, Symbian, Palm, and BlackBerry. Linux, a popular
open-source operating system, has a smaller share of the mobile

Strategy Defrag

To date, Linux initiatives for mobiles have been fragmented, with
different variations that complicate development and support for both
manufacturers and application developers.

As a free, open-source OS known for its stability, a standardized
Linux for mobile devices could serve to reduce costs to manufacturers,
create a stable platform for developers, and reduce reliance on
proprietary OS providers, such as Microsoft.

The foundation's objectives include creating technical specifications
for the OS architecture and application programming interfaces (APIs),
and creating a reference design with premade programming tools.

Open-Source Media

The founding member companies also pledged to seek participation from
other interested companies, including software developers and chipset

If this initiative bears fruit, consumers could see a flourishing
Linux community for mobile devices, mirroring the one in the PC world.

"If open-source developers latch on to a unified mobile Linux," said
Avi Greengart, an analyst with technology research firm Current
Analysis, "then we could see rich media applications being offered for
global devices by the open-source community."

Copyright 2006 NewsFactor Network, Inc.

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