Wednesday, 16 August 2006 05:40

Trolltech Linux mobile enables custom phone development

Trolltech, a Norwegian based Linux supplier for mobile phones, has announced a new mobile phone that the company believes will serve as a platform for Linux developers to design the cell phones of the future, including customised models.

The GSM/GPRS handset, called the Greenphone, will be aimed at developers rather than consumers, supplied with open source software code enabling developers to build features customised to target markets.

In addition to the major handset manufacturers developing Linux phones for the mass market, Trolltech believes that the platform  will make it economically feasible for specially customised phones to be developed and manufactured under contract by large enterprises to meet the needs of their staff.

A water or power utility for instance could have phones specially designed to despatch jobs for field operations staff using instant messaging.

What will be supplied for US$690 is a vanilla handset with a fair-sized colour screen and 1.3 megapixel camera, plus a complete Linux software development kit that enables developers the freedom to innovate, develop the functions and populate the screen with the icons that they believe will make a product a winner for their target market.

It would seem that Trolltech aims to make the Greenphone the IBM PC of the mobile phone industry, using its own version of an industry standard architecture, with Linux as the operating system platform.

However, while the Trolltech platform has the support of mobile phone giant Motorola, Linux still has a way to go to displace the number one mobile operating system platform Symbian, which is supported by Nokia, Siemens, Panasonic and Sony Ericsson, among others, and is currently installed on hundreds of millions of handsets worldwide.

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Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 35 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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