Mobile giants unite on common Linux push

by admin June 15, 2006 at 11:23 am

Spreading the open source love

Four mobile handset makers are teaming up with two network operators to develop a new Linux software platform for mobile devices.

Mobile phone makers Motorola, NEC, Panasonic and Samsung, along with mobile operators NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone, have announced plans to form an independent foundation to develop a common mobile Linux-based platform. They will use this platform to develop new products, applications and features.

Linux is already available on a wide range of mobile handsets. Motorola alone says it has shipped more than five million Linux-based handsets, mostly on smart phones, such as the Ming model shipped in China. In addition, Motorola just launched the new Rokr E2 music phone in Asia, which also uses Linux. The Rokr E2 will soon ship in Europe.

Other handset makers have shipped a similar volume of Linux-based handsets, said Christy Wyatt, the vice president of ecosystem and market development for Motorola and a spokeswoman for the new Linux foundation.

But until now, each handset maker has built its own operating system using the Linux kernel. This has led to a wide variety of implementations in the market, each of which must be tested individually by mobile operators.

The six companies forming the foundation believe that by working together, they can build a common platform that will allow them to develop new products much faster and cheaper than they’ve done in the past. Mobile operators benefit from a common Linux platform, too, because it means they can test and certify one operating system instead of several.

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